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NFL players could strike without striking

FOXBORO, MA - JULY 27: Quarterbacks Tom Brady #12, Matt Cassel #16 , and Matt Gutierrez #7, of the New England Patriots work out during training camp practice on July 27, 2007 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) Getty Images

It’s become a given that NFL players won’t get a bigger piece of a $13 billion pie without skipping game checks during the regular season via a lockout or strike. It’s also a given that a strike can’t happen before the expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, because the contract prevents the players from walking off the job or the league from locking them out.

But there’s a way players can strike without striking, allowing them to take a stand long before 2021.

As noted recently regarding whether the aftermath of Colin Kaepernick’s decision not to stand for the national anthem will cause players to realize the power they actually have, players have no obligation to report for the voluntary portions of the offseason training program. Apart from a three-day, mandatory minicamp, players can stay away from anything and everything.

When it comes to work stoppages, the NFL banks on the facts that players won’t give up game checks and/or the ability to do what they love: Play football. But skipping OTAs and other offseason activities results in no forfeiture of pay (except for players with significant workout bonuses) and no missed games.

It still wouldn’t be easy to stage a collective boycott of offseason workouts, especially since plenty of players are scratching and clawing to make the climb from 90 players on the roster to 53. But a full-squad walkout isn’t needed; a sufficiently large wrench will be thrown into the efforts to practice football if the men who distribute the football don’t show up to do it.

The quarterbacks are the key. If every quarterback under contract with every team decides not to show up for the offseason program, it will be impossible to have meaningful football practices.

It still won’t be easy. If all quarterbacks under contract don’t show up for the offseason program, teams will offer contracts to free agents desperate for a chance. But that’s where it will become important for the players, operating under the umbrella of the NFL Players Association, to stick together, realizing that the exercise of their right to not report for voluntary offseason work will help them secure better terms in the next labor deal.

To put it as frankly as possible, if the players (or at least the quarterbacks) won’t work together to take full advantage of their current legal right to not participate in the offseason program in an effort to get, for example, more money and/or a neutral arbitration process for all league-imposed discipline, they have no chance at making a lockout or a strike work to their advantage five years from now.

For Tom Brady, who recently argued that players should stand together and take advantage of their power, he should spend part of the next three weeks making plans for an effort to persuade all quarterbacks on all teams to show real leadership for all players by skipping the offseason program and forcing the NFL to lure them back by making meaningful concessions at the bargaining table.

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60 Responses to “NFL players could strike without striking”
  1. realtruthteller100 says: Sep 11, 2016 9:44 AM

    what a buncha cowards. if u reaelly loved the game ud play 4 free.

  2. HitsDingers says: Sep 11, 2016 9:44 AM

    Lets take it a step further. What if the players line up in the first game, the ball is snapped, and all 22 guys just take a knee? Is there anything in the contracts that says the teams can not pay them if they technically play but don’t actually play?

  3. bigcid10 says: Sep 11, 2016 9:44 AM

    sounds good on paper

  4. honalulublue says: Sep 11, 2016 9:46 AM

    I would find a way to shake my NFL addiction in a hurry.

  5. jimnaizeeum says: Sep 11, 2016 9:47 AM

    And then they would make millions playing 16 games a year…oh, wait.

  6. andyreidsbossoms says: Sep 11, 2016 9:52 AM

    Millennials! They inhale and exhale with a complaint. Remember when men were men.

  7. 513guy says: Sep 11, 2016 9:52 AM

    That’s all well and good but one question still remains..
    Why didn’t the Seahawks run the ball?

  8. 6ball says: Sep 11, 2016 9:53 AM

    .
    Some watch the NFL so they can see Jerry Jones, Bob Kraft and Jim (pillbox) Irsay getting liquored up. However, I usually confine my viewing to Tom Brady, Cam Newton and their ilk.
    .

  9. jchipwood says: Sep 11, 2016 9:55 AM

    You can always find more people to play football. Who should really strike are the fans against ridiculous prices for anything related to the NFL.

  10. hawk3a1 says: Sep 11, 2016 9:56 AM

    Strike over what? These lefties with their constant whining are beginning to turn me off completely. Constant pandering to these millionaires and their never ending complaining is getting to be too much,

  11. footballisnotthatimportant says: Sep 11, 2016 9:57 AM

    College football is football enough. Go ahead and strike.

  12. mantastic54 says: Sep 11, 2016 9:58 AM

    They missed all the OTAs and mini camp in 2011, how did that work out for the players?

  13. craigkintexas says: Sep 11, 2016 9:59 AM

    Just lock those that don’t want to play out. Replacement players will jump at the opportunity!

  14. irongoats says: Sep 11, 2016 9:59 AM

    hat’s all well and good but one question still remains..
    Why didn’t the Seahawks run the ball?
    ——————————————————————–

    Now that’s funny!

  15. proflonghair says: Sep 11, 2016 10:00 AM

    Except that by doing this, they would all but guarantee that these would become mandatory practices in the new labor deal, and teams would start pushing more heavily on workout bonus terms in contracts. This would be a one time thing that wouldn’t work a second time.

  16. DitkasHair says: Sep 11, 2016 10:00 AM

    Great idea until you consider most of these guys don’t have a pot to pee in or a window to throw it out…and how many of them actually went to any College classes, we’re not talking brain surgeons here….good luck, but I don’t think it will ever happen.

  17. bartpkelly says: Sep 11, 2016 10:02 AM

    I just want to watch games

  18. bannedfromchoirpractice says: Sep 11, 2016 10:03 AM

    Lawyers aren’t good at math, so let’s ask the peanut gallery: how many players presently on an NFL roster will still be on a roster in five years from now?

  19. codiablo says: Sep 11, 2016 10:06 AM

    No one can watch football when the 1% has all the money & there is no water or resources. Go ahead, strike.

  20. Fred says: Sep 11, 2016 10:08 AM

    There is too much salary disparity and careers are too short for there to be a strike. The owners know everyone will be there week one.

    Low end players need the money and are easily replaced. They don’t care about players like Brees who make three times what they do in a season in just one game.

    High end players would be passing up millions they would never make up with a strike.

  21. dietrich43 says: Sep 11, 2016 10:15 AM

    Only the star players, assured of a roster spot, need to stage a boycott of voluntary practices. If the owners want to make attendance mandatory in the next cba, they will need to give up something.

  22. JSpicoli says: Sep 11, 2016 10:17 AM

    I think if we look back 10-20 years from now, we will look up on current times as “Peak NFL”, where the league started to eat its own fan base and forgot who pays the bills.

    Fans pay the bills, and you won’t notice it a while, but the tide is going out.

    MLB ftw.

  23. bhampax says: Sep 11, 2016 10:23 AM

    I think the deal in place is pretty fair. Sure, you can always want more – but that doesn’t mean it’s fair or that you deserve it. The salary cap is growing, players are making a ton of $$$ – all this would do is hurt the game and the player image…and for what? So the next generation of players has a chance at making more?

  24. mdintino1420 says: Sep 11, 2016 10:23 AM

    The players have it great. Most are overpaid already. They should just shut up and be thankful. There is nothing for them to strike about.

    The main thing everybody should be working on is moving the Raiders to Las Vegas. Oakland has zero to offer in terms of stadium financing. Las Vegas is where the $$$ is with Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn.

  25. mazenblue says: Sep 11, 2016 10:35 AM

    lets fans protest an use this national anthem that they are protesting as a reason to stop watching football until things change back to football. I mean, my ancestors fought so I could have that right. Kaepernicks ancestors didnt

  26. elmerbrownelmerbrown says: Sep 11, 2016 10:36 AM

    If the fans ever threw up a picket line for a strike, the owners , the players , the sponsors , the networks would find out who really holds the hammer !

  27. collectordude says: Sep 11, 2016 10:45 AM

    Let the players strike without striking.
    We’ll be back to replacement players.
    1987 all over again.

  28. psubeerman21 says: Sep 11, 2016 10:47 AM

    I will never understand why regular people would ever take the side of owners in any dispute. Who’s going to put a franchise in London? Who’s going to change the rules of the game to make it less watchable? Who are billionaires that only care about money? You may think the players are overpaid, but they are the ones we watch every sunday, that put their physical health (both current and future) on the line with every hit they take. No one watches the owners raise ticket prices and cheers for it, no one buys a Jersey with the owners name on the back.

  29. livenbreathefootball says: Sep 11, 2016 10:48 AM

    That’s always been the problem though (going all the way back to the Mackey case and even trying to get the Player’s Union started), the players don’t hang together.

    Look how many QBs are saying Tom Brady should shut up and take his punishment. They don’t care they could be next, they just care it’s not them this time.

  30. ReligionIsForIdiots says: Sep 11, 2016 10:53 AM

    Can’t blame them. The 1% aka the old, white baby boomers who have destroyed this country and planet can retire in peace while the rest of us struggle with a world that they’ve left in shambles.

  31. eagleswin says: Sep 11, 2016 11:07 AM

    lawyer + football website = pro lawyer football talk

    You are asking QBs who are making $0 to take a stand for the QBs making $20 mil/yr. I think I already know the answer to that question.

    It’s really hard to make a hardship case not sound laughable when the players are getting 50% of a 13 billion dollar pie all the while refusing any overtures of making it mandatory that some of that money goes towards retirement and post football health care.

    This is a case of the football players wanting their cake and eating it as well.

  32. kerzondax says: Sep 11, 2016 11:15 AM

    Absolutely they should do something like this.
    I am FLOORED at the people here (a minority) who pick on the players and yet they are the ones who hammer the ownership as ruining the game.

    If they players don’t do something, the owners will permanently ruin this great game.

  33. richc111 says: Sep 11, 2016 11:21 AM

    Another pro union article form MF. Just toss it on the pile.

  34. mcjon22 says: Sep 11, 2016 11:21 AM

    If college football was a stock, I’d buy.

    No talk of CTE, no talk of striking players, no talk of not standing up for the national anthem, no Roger Goodell.

    Just Football.

  35. ocgunslinger says: Sep 11, 2016 11:22 AM

    irongoats says:
    Sep 11, 2016 9:59 AM
    hat’s all well and good but one question still remains..
    Why didn’t the Seahawks run the ball?
    ——————————————————————–

    Jedi mind tricks by the cheating Patriots caused confusion with Pete Carrol.

  36. bridgeh2o says: Sep 11, 2016 11:23 AM

    psubeerman21 says:
    Sep 11, 2016 10:47 AM

    I will never understand why regular people would ever take the side of owners in any dispute. Who’s going to put a franchise in London? Who’s going to change the rules of the game to make it less watchable? Who are billionaires that only care about money? You may think the players are overpaid, but they are the ones we watch every sunday, that put their physical health (both current and future) on the line with every hit they take. No one watches the owners raise ticket prices and cheers for it, no one buys a Jersey with the owners name on the back.

    bridgeh2o says:

    It’s simple…..you give TOO much power to employees in ANY industry, you end up with undesirable results.
    Look at the NBA and MLB with their guaranteed contracts…..those leagues stink!

    You have to EARN it every year in the NFL.

    That’s why the NFL is the superior sport to ALL the others.

    It’s less about “siding with the owners”, as more power to the players makes it insufferable.

    If the players want more a piece of the pie-get a better CBA! Or, own a team!!!

    No thanks for more power to the players-good grief, what a joke that would be.

  37. laffers says: Sep 11, 2016 11:24 AM

    NEVER, NEVER, NEVER! The membership of this, so called, union will never strike and potentially lose game checks; not the way these guys spend money.
    The current make-up of the membership is such that the top 10% make most of the money and this group won’t want to give up any $$ in order to help their underling brothers, AND the bottom feeders can’t afford to strike as they’ve spent most of their money before the season even begins trying to match the “big boys” spending habits.
    There’s a reason why the NFLPA is the weakest union in professional sports and it’s clearly due to the economic split of the proverbial pie.

  38. bridgeh2o says: Sep 11, 2016 11:29 AM

    This just in…..the average career of an NFL player is about 2-3 years.

    The window is so small for the large part of NFL players, that they just can’t see any justification in losing game checks, or losing their spot to someone else.

    Replacement players would be EASILY available for the NFL…….Sean Payton was a replacement player, for example. It provided him a pathway…….

    Good luck with that.

  39. nbptma1 says: Sep 11, 2016 11:33 AM

    Dear NFL players;

    Today is 9/11, a day of respect.

    Don’t screw it up!

  40. randomguy9999 says: Sep 11, 2016 11:33 AM

    NFL players are well paid now and take none of the various business risks that their employers do

    also, they shouldn’t have an independent discipline review process…. they should be treated like the rest of the other employees in the US instead of constantly whining about how they don’t get special treatment

  41. mushroommike says: Sep 11, 2016 11:38 AM

    Congrats Florio on another idiotic statement. These guys, at least most of them are battling on a yearly basis to keep their job in the NFL and looking for every advantage available. Now they sit out OTAs? Some players trying to break into the top 53 will do this? It’s easy for Tom Brady to say I won’t show for OTAs, but there’s a ton of players that will show looking for that advantage.

    Most of these guys lifespan in the NFL is short and they are not going to piss it away like that.

  42. mushroommike says: Sep 11, 2016 11:38 AM

    ReligionIsForIdiots says:
    Sep 11, 2016 10:53 AM
    Can’t blame them. The 1% aka the old, white baby boomers who have destroyed this country and planet can retire in peace while the rest of us struggle with a world that they’ve left in shambles.

    ——————————————————————

    Shouldn’t you be on the Huffington Post?

  43. mushroommike says: Sep 11, 2016 11:46 AM

    psubeerman21 says:
    Sep 11, 2016 10:47 AM
    I will never understand why regular people would ever take the side of owners in any dispute. Who’s going to put a franchise in London? Who’s going to change the rules of the game to make it less watchable? Who are billionaires that only care about money? You may think the players are overpaid, but they are the ones we watch every sunday, that put their physical health (both current and future) on the line with every hit they take. No one watches the owners raise ticket prices and cheers for it, no one buys a Jersey with the owners name on the back.

    —————————————————————-

    Nobody makes these guys play football. The risks are known and if the players can do all this without owners, why don’t they start their own league?

    Simple, it’s easier to find player than leagues and new teams. Nobody may have bought a jersey with a players name on the back, but they’ve never bought one with the player’s name on the front either.

    There’s way more loyalty to the team than the individual player and that’s not going to change.

    Because the players got a nice deal.

  44. whenwilliteverend says: Sep 11, 2016 11:48 AM

    First of all, wouldn’t that be collusion? Players complain about the ownership doing that so if they do the same thing that would seem to be two-faced.

    Second, while this might sound like a good idea for the highest paid players, it’s going to cause quite a problem for those guys who at the bottom end of the roster. If they were to do something like that, they would probably be the ones facing the backlash and get cut. It would possibly end their NFL career.

    They collectively bargained for a larger piece of the pie, which means a higher cap number every year. The people complaining most about this are the guys who are already making a ridiculous amount of money in the first place. At what point is it ever going to be enough? Never. If they get 50%, they’ll want 60%. Then they’ll want 70%. Then they’ll want everything and they still wouldn’t be happy. I’m getting so sick of these guys who are completely out of touch with reality. They make more money than some small countries and they still think they are underpaid–for playing a game. Most people who watch them can work their entire lives and not make as much money as some of these guys will make in ONE GAME.

  45. diehardbucbob says: Sep 11, 2016 11:52 AM

    One big problem with your idea is that you are asking the QB’s (which in most cases) is the highest paid player on the team with the most to lose to start the holdouts. Because the CB agreement has already tied the hands of the teams as far as number of practices is concerned, most teams have a hard enough time getting ready for the season as it is. I don’t think most starting QB’s are going to want to be the ones to piss off the fans, possibly deal with a reduction of merchandise sales and risk losing playing time for this cause.

  46. ezpkns34 says: Sep 11, 2016 12:04 PM

    All the big name players want better CBA deals, but they want other people to do the work & take the risks to get it. This inevitably leads to nobody doing the work or taking the risks to get it, leading to the players getting boned in just about every CBA deal since the commissioner went from someone truly neutral to one looking out for the owners (not knocking Goodell for doing that, it’s what the owners selected him to do one would presume)

  47. winged warrior says: Sep 11, 2016 12:13 PM

    why is this ‘smelly stuff ‘ being thrown against the wall ?

  48. cptcavalier says: Sep 11, 2016 12:23 PM

    If any player doesn’t like the current system then go work somewhere else! Oh, that’s right, only the CFL is around and they pay a pittance compared to an NFL salary. Go ahead and try to beat the owners. They own the team, the copyrights, the stadiums. The players have the talent but they can and many will be replaced by the next year’s crop of rookies. Sorry for the players, but the realty is just like in real life the owners and management have the power and the workers either work or go somewhere else to work.

  49. harrisonhits2 says: Sep 11, 2016 12:26 PM

    “That’s all well and good but one question still remains..
    Why didn’t the Seahawks run the ball?”

    Because they had run Lynch on 4th and 1 five times throught that season and so called beast mode got the first down a grand total of once.

    I think Pete wasn’t i terested in a 20% chance of a win and saw what should have been a surprise pass having a much higher chance of success

  50. dexterismyhero says: Sep 11, 2016 12:29 PM

    Go ahead and strike……………Really, go ahead…….

  51. sonhoodoo says: Sep 11, 2016 12:32 PM

    realtruthteller100 says:
    Sep 11, 2016 9:44 AM
    what a buncha cowards. if u reaelly loved the game ud play 4 free.
    ——————

    You really shouldn’t judge others based on the fact that you love your job of “Unemployed”.

  52. intrafinesse says: Sep 11, 2016 12:33 PM

    If I’m not a good a QB like Ryan Fitzpatrick, making 12MM or Cutler making 15MM, or Colin Kaepernick making 11.9MM, why do I want to strike?

    I’f I’m a QB making 20MM, I’m going to get paid regardless of the CBA. It’s the other players who will be hurt.

  53. tonebones says: Sep 11, 2016 12:34 PM

    The players will never strike. Just because a few very vocal Patriots’ fans are mad at the league, doesn’t mean the rest of the world is willing to cut of their nose to spite their face.

  54. sonhoodoo says: Sep 11, 2016 12:34 PM

    hawk3a1 says:
    Sep 11, 2016 9:56 AM
    Strike over what? These lefties with their constant whining are beginning to turn me off completely. Constant pandering to these millionaires and their never ending complaining is getting to be too much,
    ——————-

    Translation: Why did the government stop my unemployment checks!?

  55. sonhoodoo says: Sep 11, 2016 12:37 PM

    DitkasHair says:
    Sep 11, 2016 10:00 AM
    Great idea until you consider most of these guys don’t have a pot to pee in or a window to throw it out…and how many of them actually went to any College classes, we’re not talking brain surgeons here….good luck, but I don’t think it will ever happen.
    ———————-
    You missed the point entirely. He is saying the QBs should not show up. 32 of them or so. It would help if some of the more talented players with fairly guaranteed roster spots did so as well, but you can do it with just the QBs.

    Now, if the QBs sit during OTAs, imagine 32 teams trying to practice with Mark Sanchez at the helm. This is a product no one should want. Except Mark Sanchez.

  56. melikefootball says: Sep 11, 2016 12:41 PM

    Do you get it fans you and me are paying for the greed of the players we adore. Paying the prices for tickets is outrages as it is when today it is more about off field crap then the game we all love. To bad the fans don’t stand tall and when they go out the door fans also do the same and wipe their hands clean of the NFL. College is just as exciting if not more than many of the NFL games.

  57. bobbyinlondon says: Sep 11, 2016 12:49 PM

    Mike Florio–the spokesman for players making MILLIONS while we the fans WHO SUPPORT THEM BY PAYING for all the things that hwelp them make their millions have no such spokesman.

  58. quicktaker says: Sep 11, 2016 12:50 PM

    In the business world there is a lot of non-compulsory tasks but putting in the extra work demonstrates commitment. I am generally not a fan of employees that do the bare minimum.

  59. insightfulcomments says: Sep 11, 2016 1:00 PM

    “Millennials! They inhale and exhale with a complaint. Remember when men were men.”

    Looks like a hillbilly who doesn’t understand the irony of his own whining.

  60. runtheball says: Sep 11, 2016 1:08 PM

    Sounds like a good idea until they get replacement players to play the games with. Then little by little guys begin to cross the picket line and the balance of power shifts back to the owners. There will always be guys that need the money and there will always be guys that just love the game.

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