New NFLPA regulation mandates consultation during negotiations

Getty Images

As the start of free agency looms, the NFL Players Association potentially has created a lot more work for itself.

Per multiple sources, the NFLPA sent to agents on February 1 a memo outlining new requirements regarding the negotiation of contracts. The union now requires advance consultation before finalizing a new deal.

“[E]ffective immediately,” the memo states, “Contract Advisors are REQUIRED to contact the NFLPA Salary Cap & Agent Administration Department at the ‘beginning of substantive discussions’ with an NFL Club over any veteran RENEGOTIATION in which either the initial Club offer or the expected final NFL Player Contract has an Average Per Year (APY) of $2,000,000 or more.”

Other language in the memo suggest that it applies to all new contracts (e.g., “Contract Advisors must communicate with the NFLPA during the process of negotiating any Player Contracts with NFL Clubs, and more particularly when renegotiating veteran NFL Player Contracts”). As one source explained it, however, it applies only to renegotiations.

Some agents have suggested that the new term will have a chilling effect on teams inclined to renegotiate contracts, given the possibility that sensitive information regarding the discussions will be shared with the union — and then potentially leaked to agents representing other players on the same team. Agents also are concerned that the union will attempt to prevent a player from signing a contract that the player wants to sign, regardless of whether the union believes the player should seek more.

The primary intent of the provision, per a source with knowledge of the union’s thinking, is to ensure that agents won’t agree to onerous language that void trigger a voiding of guaranteed money based on relatively minor offenses like speaking ill of the team. (The source explained that, at one point last year, the Cowboys attempted to insert language voiding Dez Bryant’s deal based on that factor.)

If that’s the case, then the regulation should say so. Or instead of requiring consultation the union should create approved language for the voiding of guarantees and insist that all agents fight for that terminology in all deals.

Agents will have a chance to air any complaints they have about the new regulation during Thursday’s annual meeting in Indianapolis.

23 responses to “New NFLPA regulation mandates consultation during negotiations

  1. Whatever rules the NFLPA comes up with, please print them on the front page of every newspaper so that we all can see. Then we’ll give them a chance to change their mind. Once they’ve agreed that this is what they want, we can print it out and make it the law. But just make sure they know what they’re doing, because, as we’ve seen, they have a problem honoring their own laws.

  2. Hard to see why the NFLPA should interfere with initial or ongoing negotiations and what authority they have to do so?…If they mandated or tried to get notice at the same time that the NFL front office was notified, I would be on board……

    I am not sure what “consultation” means? However, In the case of those who are representing themselves, like Okung, this makes sense……except he is going to be a free agent and not negotiating an extension….

    Just not really making business sense to me, except to say that the NFLPA is trying to be more up in the players business and they don’t trust agents.

  3. Isn’t it the agents job to get a player the best deal? This isn’t an electricians union where everyone is paid on a scale, there are going to be a lot of pissed off players because of this.

  4. Just when you think you’re starting to like the NFLPA, an article like this comes along. If they’re so concerned about “agents” unknowingly allowing certain language into a contract, why don’t they just do a better job educating and/or regulating agents? This is just a power play to gain more knowledge about contract negotiations and insert their own opinions (or strong-arm players into toeing the union line).

    As an example, Tom Brady taking FAR below market value doesn’t help other QBs with their negotiations… what do you think the NFLPA is going to have to say about that? There are plenty of other much lower profile players who probably do the same (to a lesser degree) because they’re comfortable with their employment situation and willing to take less to stay where they are. What happens if the union applies pressure to them and urges them not to sign?

  5. Once again the NFLPA is sticking their nose in areas where it doesn’t belong. Look for this new proposal to be vetoed at the first joint meeting with the agents next week.

  6. This is about as innocent as the FBI only wanting to unlock one iphone.

    This is about giving the NFLPA more power. They could easily tell the agents what language to avoid if that was the real intent.

    It could get real interesting if the NFLPA starts telling players where they can and can’t sign.

  7. Players pay Union dues so the Union can drive up their attorney costs with meddling rules and then tell them what they can and cannot agree to in their contract.

    Unions have a place but they also feel the need to gain power and money and control. Soon the players will need a Union to represent them against the Union.

  8. Someone needs to remind the NFLPA that it works for the players and not the others way around.

    Smith has been a disaster as a leader.

    Oh well you get the leadership you deserve. After all who is the bigger fool? The fool who leads or the one who follows?

  9. This sounds like the MLB players union blocking A-Rods deal with the Red Sox. I don’t think I like this idea at all. Maybe the union should grow a pair during the next contract negotiations and demand guaranteed contracts. The way the system works now contracts don’t mean jack.

  10. “It’s like De Smith and Roger Goodell have a bet to see who can go the longest sucking at their jobs without getting fired.”


    Or maybe they are both pulling a George Costanza and are trying to get fired so they can get hired by a rival sports league and/or the Mets.

    Actually, Smith and Goodell would probably fit right in with the Mets front office.

  11. After finding the owners trying to rob the players blind, I suppose De Smith is being extra cautious. You have to watch Goodell and his greasy fingers like a hawk lest he demonstrate more of his “integrity.”

  12. For those of you of you that are talking about trusting the NFL, this isn’t about that. It is about the PA trying to take power from the players.

    Someone used the example of Arod and the union not allowing him to go to Boston. That is a great example.

    This is about the union trying to grab the ability to say where, when, and how players can sign and who with so that they can try to get further leverage against the league.

    The union has already shown a unique way of coming up with really bad ideas to try and force the league to do something, and each time they fail. Every win they have had recently has been because of the league doing something stupid, not their ability to try and grab leverage.

  13. There goes the “hometown discount” forever. There will eventually be a union imposed contract minimum, particularly for star players. This could also spell the end of the back loaded contract that serves no purpose other than to allow teams to cut players and make more money for the agents.

    I have a feeling that this will lead to more shorter term contracts that are mostly fully guaranteed and a LOT more player movement.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!