As the NFLPA begins the active pursuit of evidence from the league to corroborate a claim that the teams colluded in 2010 to limit spending in the absence of a salary cap, the NFLPA is looking inside its own backyard for proof, too.
As mentioned last night on Twitter, the union has instructed NFLPA-certified agents to retain materials relating to contract negotiations in the uncapped-but-maybe-not year. PFT has since obtained a copy of the memo that was sent Thursday to the agents.
The memo explains that the agents have an “obligation to take all steps to ensure preservation of all documents potentially relevant” to the collusion case, and that they also have an “obligation to retain all potentially relevant documents.” Agents specifically are asked to keep any paper materials (like notes from calls and meetings), along with all emails and text messages.
The memo also mentions that some materials already have been received by the NFLPA from the agents.
It’s a smart approach, regardless of whether the 2011 CBA and litigation settlement documents cut off the ability to pursue the collusion case. If the union gets past that first big hurdle, the union will have to prove its case, and the agents could have some very useful evidence in their files, phones, and computers.
Looking at the bigger picture, the more likely source of useful information may come from agents who communicated with officials from the Redskins and Cowboys during the hot-blooded moments after the two teams were stripped of a combined $46 million in cap space. Our hunch is that, with the teams confident the NFLPA wouldn’t — and couldn’t — claim collusion two years after the fact, folks were likely a little too candid about what had really happened to the two teams that were being punished for refusing to comply with the apparent directive to not treat the term “uncapped year” literally.