As midnight approaches, NFL has three choices


Though it’s being widely reported and assumed that the NFL will lock out a non-union workforce before midnight, the approach plays into the lawsuit filed earlier today, aimed at blocking a lockout.

Some of you have asked whether the NFL has an alternative to a lockout.  The answer is yes.  There are two other options.

First, the NFL can impose rules for free agency, the draft, salary cap, etc.  This also invites antitrust scrutiny, since the NFL consists of 32 separate businesses that, the players claim, cannot establish rules that restrict player movement between the 32 companies.

Second, the NFL can operate as 32 separate businesses, with no rules.  No rules means no draft, no franchise tag, no salary cap.

It also means no minimum salaries, no mandatory benefit plans, and no considerations for former players.

The league now has what every business with a union wants — no union.  If the league is willing to experiment with an environment in which rookies would be recruited like free agents and players whose contracts expire would be free to leave, the league could treat every year as being a year without a salary cap, and a year without a salary floor.

The long snapper could be paid $50,000 per year.  A rookie represented by an agent not regulated by any union could be cajoled into signing a valid and binding 10-year contract.

The primary risk would come from having an owner like Daniel Snyder or Jerry Jones attempt to buy a perennial championship team.  But since we’ve seen how efforts by each man to purchase a Lombardi Trophy have fared in the past, why not let them keep trying?

Of course, the league surely won’t go that route.  If, however, the players choose to push the litigation to the limit and not simply settle the case but insist on a judgment, the worst-case scenario for the league would be having a no-rules scenario forced upon it.

A lockout is the best choice because it focuses the legal fight initially on the question of whether the union’s decertification is a sham — and more importantly on whether the NFL has the ability to raise the “sham” argument.  The union believes that defense has been waived; the outcome of the first skirmish could nudge the parties toward a quick settlement.

46 responses to “As midnight approaches, NFL has three choices

  1. The league now has what every business with a union wants — no union.

    The league is not a “business”. It is an association of 32 separate businesses.

    The difference will be crucial in court.

  2. Another choice is to just shut down and wait for the players to come back with hat in hand. The owners can afford a prolonged work stoppage much better than the players.

  3. I want a 100 million just to watch these bone heads!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve endured 4 super bowl losses, championship losses, losing seasons, sex boat scandals, players beating people up with lamp posts, whizzinators, Randy Moss mooning the Packers fans, a roof collapsing on a stadium, a legislature that are tight wads, and this is the final straw. I want some of that money!!!!!!!!! I work hard too!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. “Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones … the murderers of the NFL.”

    Absolutely. Your point can also be extended one step farther as

    “Billionaires…the murders of the United States of America and its democracy.”

    They bought the media, they bought the government, and just for kicks they’re gonna take down pro football because they didn’t get their way on a bullet point.

  5. fans wouldnt stand for being forced to pay outrageous ticket prices and seat licences too to watch what in effect are no talent scabs.

  6. blow up the whole thing…and create a new league with graduating college players, afl and ufl players. If people still want to watch pro football then they will watch…better than a team full of slbert haynesworths and jamarcus russells

  7. I can’t believe the compassion for owners on this site. The owners are asking the players to take a cut despite the fact that the NFL is more popular than ever. TV contracts are richer, more gear is being sold, attendance is up. Why, oh why would you take a pay cut if the owners are not willing to conduct an AUDIT of there personal finances?

    The owners are playing on the current fears that the union/socialism is responsible for the current financial crises in the USA. They are going all out and normal hard working middle class citizens are falling for the tactics. They are hoping that the Supreme Court, which has a conservative republican majority, will eventually back them up. Break the Unions, the rich get richer, and eventually the profits will “trickle down” to the common man/person.

    Share the wealth with the people who make you rich.

  8. In CA, by law, no personal services contract can extend beyond 7 years.

    Just wanted to let you know.

  9. Its unbelievable to me that I am turning down my heat to save money on my ridiculous oil bills, which in turn will have me save up for the Sunday Ticket again this year, while these jerkoffs argue over billions. Makes me sad.

  10. Ive been wanting to see the no-union scenario now for a while. I think it might just backfire on the players. If I was the owners, that is definitely the way I would go. Football is not like the NBA, where a few good players make a huge difference.

    There isnt such a huge difference in talent at the NFL level except for a handful of quarterbacks.

  11. Does anyb9dy agree, and stop me if this has beenn offered, but protecting teams against “Haynseworth contracts” should be a topic. I understand the player’s want to cap off unproven rookies, but how about guys who got the $ and who are not producing N. I use ole Dirty Bast*rd B Haynesworth as a refernce, but it goes to a lot of others. I love the players, but protection against guys like that seems like it would be a league c0ncern. As a man like Brees or Peyton, who have proven themselves, couldnt Haynesworth’s type of money not only be money based on incentives but also, if not earned, be given to vets?

  12. I’d love to see true open competition… no rules… recruit who is good… pay them what they will accept…. fire them when they don’t show up for work… like… well the rest of us…

    The Players have completely bungled this… they:
    – had the lawyer that would benefit from lockout litigation call the play
    – tried to say to us “we are just poor downtrodden workers like you”
    – had the naivety that they would be able to force the Owners to open the books

    I’m OK with a scab season… it’ll be interesting for a year or two until the talent flows again…

  13. Owners and players aren’t fighting over their money. They are fighting over our money. If we don’t spend it, they can’t collect it, and it does not sound like too many of us are willing to spend money on lawyers when all we want is football. Screw them. Keep your money at home.

  14. They should just set the rules that they want. They don’t have to answer to a union now. And if the players want to work, they can. If not, they can go play in Canada. Then the players have no recourse, since they can have their jobs if they want them. Under the new rules of course.

  15. nothing is more frustrating than the haynesworths of the league…paid all that money and not even trying to play…. bring on the scabs!

  16. Woo. I wanna see Drew Brees making minimum wage and no bennies.

    Wonder if he’d play or go to the UFL 😉

    I hope the owners take a stand and make their own rules for each team…would be awesome.

    I’m sure some decent, but undrafted/unwanted college guys would be happy making $50k a year to play ball.

  17. clownburger says:
    Mar 12, 2011 12:47 AM
    They should just set the rules that they want. They don’t have to answer to a union now. And if the players want to work, they can. If not, they can go play in Canada. Then the players have no recourse, since they can have their jobs if they want them. Under the new rules of course.

    How would you feel if your employer, assuming you actually have one, suddenly imposed new rules on you?

    Oh, but that’s different, right?

  18. oldhamletman makes the great point –

    The NFLPA had its lawyer call the play, and it has portrayed itself as downtrodden workers when in fact they are the beneficiaries of the owners. The part about the owners’ books – the NFLPA was never serious about wanting transparancy because the Packers obliged and the PA ignored them; the PA cannot legitimately pretend the owners are stonewalling them because the numbers are out there and they don’t provide ammo for DeMaurice Smith.

    The NFLPA has the choice – it can do the right thing and sign onto the new CBA.

  19. marthisdil says:
    Mar 12, 2011 1:03 AM
    Woo. I wanna see Drew Brees making minimum wage and no bennies.

    Wonder if he’d play or go to the UFL

    I hope the owners take a stand and make their own rules for each team…would be awesome.

    I’m sure some decent, but undrafted/unwanted college guys would be happy making $50k a year to play ball.

    And you would watch that? You would take time out of you schedule to watch some mediocre tool making 50k a year play football?

    Do you watch prime time TV? Do you realize that every actor you see is making millions of dollars a year for working about 20 hours a week, 35-40 weeks a year?

    Why does it bother you that athletes make so much but you have no problem with entertainers making so much more f0r working so much less?

  20. I’m hoping for a prolonged strike that kills the league. Football fans are morons who get hopelessly lost in any discussion that doesn’t include the words “suck” or “blow”.

  21. Kennedys vs Rockefellers…
    I propose a fan union – and we’ll decertify the golden goose for a while and see if the player and owners miss “us”.

  22. pppath says: Stupid stuff!

    You don’t seem to have a clue how a business is run and payrolls are met! You have probably never taken a risk in your life!

    The players have gone way too far this time! I sure hope they hasve all saved their dough!

    Chuck A

  23. Daniel Snyder and Jerry Jones are two of the main guys who fund the welfare teams (Panthers, Bills, Jags, and etc).

  24. Screw the NFL. Baseball now and college football when the time rolls around. Don’t renew the NFL ticket and cancel Sirius subscriptions. I’m a Cowboys fan and my team could thrive in this situation, but I’d rather have it fair than it used to be pre salary cap.

  25. this sucks, the only positive thing i can take from this is, at least the team i was rooting for won the superbowl..yay champs for 2 straight years

  26. I’d just like to know after you have a billion dollars, why do you need more money? And I could ask the same of the Drew Brees and Peyton Mannings with their 10’s of millions of dollars every year.

    But it just seems more apt with billionaires. I mean, what exactly entitles them to that kinda money? Their daddy died seems to be the trend.

    Wasn’t there a guy in England, thought himself a king, who’s daddy died too, who also thought he was entitled to America? Thought god gave him a special power? Hmmm…

    I thought we stopped believing in that crap and got Common Sense.

  27. catman72 says: Mar 12, 2011 12:33 AM

    Sounds good to me, renegotiate everyone’s contract to 50k per year and let them live in the real world like the rest of us.


    And the winner of this thread is catman!

  28. I blame the players. Everyone thinks it’s okay that the inmates run the asylum for some reason. Owners made the money. Owners are your boss. You have no say.

    Unions have ruined America.

  29. “Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones … the murderers of the NFL.”

    I would say DeMaurice Smith is going to go down as the guy who killed the goose that lays the golden egg (NFL).

    Why all the villification of business owners who have been successful? Is this not freaking America? Would anyone go through the trouble of starting up, owning, and creating a successful business if they had to divide up the profits equally with the workers? Why should they?

  30. @realitypolice

    Why do you assume that the players they could sign for $50,000 or $100,000 would be a bunch of scrubs? This would not be Peyton Manning or Drew Brees, they have contracts or will sign and make similar amounts to what they make now, give or take a few bucks. We are talking about role players on the team and especially the ones making the league minimums of $400,000-$800,000. Clearly by the fact they are making the minimum allowable now, if there was no minimum they would be making less or they wouldn’t have jobs. Teams could easily play those players off the ones of similar talent who aren’t in the league and could likely find comparable players willing to make $50,000-$100,000 with little or no noticeable difference in the product on the field. That would force those same guys to take significantly less money for the same role.

  31. Each team is a business as the Owner of that business you tell your employees what they are going to make. You don’t let them tell you and you don’t let them see the books. The players are getting $.60 on the dollar made. I’m assuming that the other $.40 is used for overhead and then whatever is left over goes to the owners.
    You can’t blame the owners for having enough money to own the team. Yea they are billionaires but the teams are a business. That’s how they made their money in the first place, being good businessmen.
    I am on the owners side but I do think its ridiculous that they couldn’t come to some kind of agreement. I WANT free agency and football this season!!!

  32. if duh or mawae say or do jack wrt the players or play any further role in this then yes the decert is a sham.

  33. Obviously with a 9 Billion dollar business there is more than enough $$$$ to pay the players (employees), run a business and have a respectable return on the ownership investment. Stupid to suggest these guys only be paid 50K for a year. What is stupid is overpaying rookies who have never played more than established players who have proven themselves. Forget the unions and with 32 owners competing for players the market will determine fair compensation and the players will receive it. You still have 32 teams who want to win and will pay the freight to do that.

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