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Sean Gilbert lays out five options to agents

Gilbert Getty Images

As current NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith meets with the NFL, his potential successor has been quietly laying the foundation for next year’s effort to claim the office.

Sean Gilbert, a former NFL player, has declared his intention to pursue the job held by Smith since 2009.  At the Scouting Combine, Gilbert met with 25-to-30 agents.  Recently, he sent an email to agents elaborating on some of his ideas and explaining that he’s in the process of drafting a full platform.

His book, The $29 Million Tip, shares some of that platform by advocating for an 18-game season in exchange for three years to free agency.  That has caused some to claim that Gilbert isn’t as committed to player safety as he should be.  Gilbert disputes that contention in his email to agents, a copy of which PFT has obtained.

I would never negotiate the health and safety of our players,” Gilbert wrote.  “The health and safety of NFL players is priceless and should be respected by both the union and the owners.”

Gilbert continues to be concerned about the financial quality of the current CBA.

“Under Gene Upshaw, the salary cap would have been $157 million this year instead of $133 million. That is a shift of $768 million from players to owners THIS YEAR ALONE,” Gilbert wrote.  “Through the first four years of this Collective Bargaining Agreement, more than $2.5 billion has already shifted from the players to the owners.”

That’s why Gilbert is suggesting that the players should look for a way to pull the plug on the current CBA.  In support of his case for change, he lays out five options.  Here they are, in Gilbert’s words:

1.  Do nothing and wait until after the 2020 League Year.
2.  Grovel to the owners, similar to a Player who has outperformed his current contract.
3.  Strike – I am NOT advocating this.
4.  Termination of the CBA due to Collusion – See Article 69 and Article 17 of the CBA, as well as the last page of my book.
5.  Provide a “carrot” that will get the owners to come back to the negotiating table.

Gilbert doesn’t identify an option that he prefers in the email.  But his past comments indicate that he like the idea of terminating the agreement prematurely; his email confirms that the path to ending the contract comes from allegations of collusion.

And while he doesn’t advocate striking now (which would violate the terms of the CBA), scuttling the CBA could be a precursor to a strike.

So why is Gilbert making a pitch directly to agents?  Many of them have been privately griping about the current labor deal since it was signed in August 2011, and they have a direct pipeline to players who can position themselves to become player representatives for one of the 32 teams.

If, in the end, Gilbert places 17 players who would vote for him as representatives for the 2014-15 season, Gilbert will have enough support to win the job.

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9 Responses to “Sean Gilbert lays out five options to agents”
  1. touchdownroddywhite says: Apr 8, 2014 10:59 AM

    So basically if he wins we’re looking at another potential work stoppage? I could care less which group gets the most money. If he’s advocating a path that leads to even the potential of lost football, I’ll be pulling for Smith.

  2. joetoronto says: Apr 8, 2014 11:08 AM

    “Under Gene Upshaw, the salary cap would have been $157 million this year instead of $133 million. That is a shift of $768 million from players to owners THIS YEAR ALONE,” Gilbert wrote. “Through the first four years of this Collective Bargaining Agreement, more than $2.5 billion has already shifted from the players to the owners.”

    Some misunderstood him or couldn’t see the end game and complained about him, but Gene Upshaw saw the big picture and cared about both the union and the sport in general.

    Gene Upshaw was the man.

  3. thestrategyexpert says: Apr 8, 2014 11:09 AM

    If health and safety were truly priceless, then this sport would be illegal. There is a price, in fact there’s a concussion settlement going on right now where all parties are negotiating the exact price to the penny. It may not make practical or conventional sense, but in this kind of a role a good leader/negotiator understands that you need to convert subjective and intangible concerns into an objective monetary denomination at some point. Gilbert doesn’t understand this, or he prefers to BS his way through it by building up an image of how much he cares about health and safety before he starts actually negotiating it just like everybody else is.

    And maybe in 2020 the NFL will have a representative that sends out a memo griping about how Goodell let that cap get as high as $133MM when arguably it should have been much lower. When will the players reconcile for having received too much money in the past they might say. I wonder how many players Gilbert can get to vote for his reelection if he gets destroyed in a war.

  4. phreakin says: Apr 8, 2014 11:11 AM

    So a player wants to “quit” a contract early because it doesn’t favor them at the current moment huh? Shocking. I don’t have a dog in this fight either way, but if the players want to get out of contracts prematurely then the owners should let them. But ONLY if the players agree that when they under perform on their contract that they are required to pay it back. Can’t have it both ways.

  5. bennyb82 says: Apr 8, 2014 11:37 AM

    Maybe the NFL should invest in the education of doctors. Maybe they could create an organization or something that pays for schooling under the condition that they only treat NFL players. Maybe this could cut insurance out of the picture and allow current and former NFL players to have a lifetime of treatment. This would make the NFL look great while also helping players with their health long after football at a minimized cost. I think the main issue that they would have to ‘tackle’ is making sure that the doctors are not under pressure from the owners in treating each player.

  6. djstat says: Apr 8, 2014 12:23 PM

    Maybe Sean Gilbert should shut his fat mouth up. His advice to Revis has all but derailed a hall of fame career and has Revis with his third team in 18 months.

    All he has ever cared about is himself. He sees an opportunity to make money. This bafoon does not realize that the expenses of lifetime medical care cut into revenues.

    This guy was a perrenial loser. Lost with the Redskins and then the Panthers. JERK

  7. billysandiego says: Apr 8, 2014 12:59 PM

    Sean Gilbert sat out a year in a contract dispute and is Revis’s uncle. As a rookie, USA Today asked Revis to identify his role model. “My uncle, Sean Gilbert,” Revis said. “Every step I took, from high school to college to the pros, he taught me what I needed to do. I’m just blessed to have an uncle go through what I’m going through.”

    If he becomes the NFLPA executive director he might prove Mark Cuban right.

  8. mackie66 says: Apr 8, 2014 5:03 PM

    To the NFL owners, scuttle the CBA, take two or three yrs off and start over. Pay these players just what there worth. No player is worth 5-12 million a yr. Collusion is against the rules for owners but not players. Sean Gilbert only wants to re-distrubte wealth from one side to another, he apparently got that info from Obama.

  9. goodtogo28 says: Apr 8, 2014 8:15 PM

    salary cap went up by 10 mil and next year it’s expected to be even more significant specially with the tv money kicking in. smith will keep his job.
    sean gilbert is and has always been about sean gilbert and he would be bad news if he was ever elected, for both the league and the players.

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