On Monday, the NFL made a new CBA offer to the players, even though the players never responded to the last offer the NFL made. Though no details regarding the new offer have emerged (yet), we’re hearing that it’s not believed to be significantly better than the offer made on March 11.
Nor should it be, frankly. Money has been lost since March 11, and the league is now operating from a position of strength, given clear indications from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals that the order lifting the lockout will soon be placed into the porcelain file. Under the circumstances, the NFL would have been justified to make an offer worse than the offer that was made nearly 10 weeks ago.
Lawyer Michael Hausfeld, who filed a separate lawsuit on behalf of retired players and an incoming rookie who likely wouldn’t have been picked in a 100-round draft, tells ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio: “The players are considering their proposal and formulating a response. It’s not acceptable as is, but it’s a starting point.”
Hausfeld’s opinion is far, far less compelling than the opinion of the lawyers representing the current players. Hausfeld and his clients have barged their way into these proceedings, and the current players and their lawyers welcomed them to the table presumably due to concerns that telling them to get lost and/or bent would alienate retired players generally.
Either way, the ball is in the player’s court, and how the players respond to the new offer will go a long way toward determining whether a deal can be reached in the short term. In this regard, we’re told the NFL is particularly interested in seeing whether the players’ position departs from the recent public statements of NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith, who has spoken of “going to the mattresses” and more recently congratulated the league for “su[ing] to not play its game.”
So if the next thing we hear from Smith is that the players have been offered the second-worst deal in the history of sports, we’ll know that this thing is going nowhere. And that, in time, the players will be forced to choose between taking one of the worst deals in the history of sports and not getting paid, indefinitely.