De Smith’s contract expires in March 2012

Getty Images

After the pre-asterisked NFLPA elected DeMaurice Smith to serve as its executive director, without obtaining pre-approval by the four finalists of the specific terms of employment, a contract had to be negotiated.  Smith reportedly wanted a four-year commitment, and the NFLPA offered three.  When the contract was finalized, the length of the deal remained a secret.

Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal reports that Smith ultimately signed a three-year deal.

The information, contained in the former union’s annual filing with the U.S. Department of Labor, means that Smith will be up for re-election in March 2012.

It remains to be seen whether Smith will face one or more opponents next year.  His ability to secure another term — if he wants one — will depend on the manner in which the labor situation is resolved.  That’s why it’s important for the lockout to be resolved in a manner that allows Smith and the players to declare victory, and for the NFL to not publicly disagree.

The situation will be similar to the negotiation of a long-term, big-money player contract.  Inevitably, the agent for the player leaks to a member of the media eager to add a notch to his or her scoop belt puffed up numbers that the member of the media breathlessly will report without first seeing the real numbers contained in the contract.  Some teams opt to say or do nothing to set the record straight.  Some teams make sure to discreetly get the word out.  And some, like the Raiders once did, will push to the press numbers lower than reported — even when the numbers reported via the agent/player leak were accurate.

In this case, it’s important for the NFL to take the first approach.  The CBA eventually will be available for public scrutiny, and the experts will be able to pick it apart and offer up their opinions as to whether it was a good deal or a bad deal for the players.

As to the numbers in Smith’s contract, Kaplan reports that he received $1.53 million from the NFLPA and $920,000 from Players, Inc. during his first full year on the job, for a total of $2.45 million.   That’s far less than the amount that the late Gene Upshaw was making, and it reflects a realization by the players that quality candidates would do that job for far, far less than the NFLPA paid Upshaw.

55 responses to “De Smith’s contract expires in March 2012

  1. I think all of us are qualified. Just convince the players that we are smarter (not too tough) and keep saying no. Make sure you have some stupid hat to wear, look like an idiot when caught on camera, talk like an idiot when caught on camera, and destroy the greatest game in the World. Oh, and I would imagine most of us would settle for slightly less than 2.3M a year.

  2. deMORON will not be elected to another term.
    At least not if the players have learned ANYTHING .

    The guy took the players down the wrong path-(litigation) which is becoming clearer that the owners will win at.

    Has anyone been paying attention to the players comments lately?
    Drew Brees was the most outspoken(besides duanethomas) and banging the wardrums. Now he is backtracking and wanting a deal to get done quickly.

    Other players are speaking out publicly about how a deal needs to get done NOW through negoatiating. They all see that there is no way they will win in the courts.

    deMORON will not be reelected by these players again. They have already started turning on him. That is the only reason he is even negotiating now.

    I mean even duanethomas stopped his moronic “unity till the end” and “we will prevail” propaganda posts and is now offering up instead “its time to get a deal done that is fair to both sides”

  3. Well, at least we know the roundabout time period a deal will get done now – after March ’12.

  4. Why on Earth would you think the owners give a damn about whether Demo is re-elected. If anything they would want him gone and replaced with someone who knows something about collective bargaining, not a pure litigator.

    IMO, Demo will resign when the new CBA comes out. Like I have said before, unless he comes out of this CBA with complete and utter defeat of the owners (which he won’t), his scorched earth approach to negotiating will be seen as a failure – especially if the numbers are not far off from the offers being made back in March. He took this insane path of litigation when just a little bit more of good old fashioned collective bargaining would have worked.

    I personally also think that many players have lost trust in him and his methods, even though they would not come out and publicly say it.

  5. “…and it reflects a realization by the players that quality candidates would do that job for far, far less than the NFLPA paid Upshaw”

    You are assuming Smith is a “quality candidate”. Some of this drawn out process could very well be his fault. As a NFL fan I thank the stars his contract will expire next year. I just hope we have football by then. I think Smith is enjoying the limelight just a little too much.

  6. It amazes me how many people dogged Gene Upshaw about the current deal and now realize that he really did a great job for the players and fans.

    Gene had a cozy relationship the the commish and that allowed him to work out the details over time instead of slingging mud in the press.

    It just goes to show that savy businessmen are only appreciated when the “crap” hits the fan and no one really knows how they got in so much trouble.

  7. Can Smith continue his law practice in addition to his duties for the NFLPA, or are his services to the now-decertified union exclusive? Although he’s well qualified, I find him somewhat combative and have always felt the union would have been better off with David Cornwell in that position. But if that would have taken Cornwell out of private practice, it’s probably better for the Steelers that things turned out as they did.

  8. What??? According to the pro-owner shill’s DeMaurice also gets attorney fee’s, that why there is no agreement.

  9. I am NOT a De Smith fan….it just seems to me that he is MORE interested in being self serving than doing his job. He is no GENE!!!! Mr. Upshaw reppped the players cause he was a player… I think Smith dropped the ball on this labor deal, in trying to “prove himself”.

  10. De Smith should publically resign and never be seen again after this debacle because he is somebody that will not be forgiven by the public.

  11. wow didn’t know union heads made that kind or money, the question, I for the players is Mr. Smith worth it?

  12. You get what you pay for and the NFLPA paid for a hack that could potentially ruin the livelihoods of most players in the league.

  13. How ridiculous. Why wouldn’t the NFLPA pre-designate a salary/benefits…. say $1 million/yr with a yearly contract and then conduct “job interviews” and ultimately a vote by the players?

  14. Most of the players money was spent, I mean wasted, on the lawyers such as Jeffrey Kessler. Kessler made $25 million from 2006-2010 before he became lead Council. In 1998, he told the NFLCA (Larry Kennan) that an ait-trust lawsuit was $3 million. So who knows how much the suit would cost in 2011, 13 years after the $3 million estimate.

    Does anyone know what Kessler is making this year? What about Barbara Barren (sp?).

    Too bad that money wasn’t used on players instead of filing suits. Oh well, it looks like they stopped the Kessler gravy-train for now. BTW, the above numbers can be found via google searches.

  15. PFT wrote: “… it reflects a realization by the players that quality candidates would do that job for far, far less than the NFLPA paid Upshaw.”

    Lets see, Upshaw got the players what everyone acknowledges as a great deal and the players did not have to strike or lose any time or pay checks. His successor, D. Smith, has gotten the players what? Time off, missed paychecks for off season activities, and uncertainty as to what will happen. Who is worth more? Who did or has done the better job?

    I know that this mess is not over, but I believe that Upshaw was the better executive director and earned his pay.

    By the way, since D. Smith is officially a lawyer for the players named in the lawsuit, does he get paid by them or is he really making a $1.00 or $0.00 during the lockout?

  16. De Smith would like to not be head of the NFLPA next year and would like to start campaigning for his next position. That is why he does not care about the needs or desires of the majority of his constituents and is instead leading them in a way that will likely benefit himself and nobody else.

    What a guy!

  17. Well that just means you can add DeSmith to the growing list of people who have very self serving interests!

    God forbid anyone think of all the little guys who have lost their jobs, fans, the UDFA’s, the retired players, all the second tier players, the draft, the time money and effort this lawsuit takes in court and how it has now tied up 3 magistrate judges, an appellate court, the NLRB, all the media and sports networks that are without news the list goes on and on!

    It is however interesting that Smith took a paycut over Upshaw so I guess the guy does understand the concept of sometimes if you want a job and a contract you have to take less.

  18. You know how it works in the NFL. The expensive vet gets replaced by the younger cheaper guy.

  19. “…it reflects a realization by the players that quality candidates would do that job for far, far less than the NFLPA paid Upshaw.”


    If so, then why didn’t the NFLPA hire one of the “quality candidates” instead of DeMaurice?

  20. DeSmith’s contract should have ended in March 2011. He has been part of the problem, not the solution.

  21. It should have expired back in March when he walked out. This all could have been avoided if he wasn’t involved at all.

  22. The guy doesn’t focus on the real issues, distorts the truth, and uses the media to promote his agenda despite the long term harm it will cause.

    Since he would be a perfect fit, look for him to soon be part of the Obama administration.

  23. I second the question posed by one of the posters above. Is De Smith getting paid by the lawyers or any of the legal machinery involed with NFLPA, NFLPA*?

    Kessler is raking in tens of millions of dollars on these lawsuits, is De Smith getting any of this lawsuit money?

  24. All the players will love him once a deal is signed. He will make them understand what a brilliant job he did and how thankful they should be to have him – that’s what lawyers do, they twist it around and find a way to justify themselves

  25. @WingT …

    Lawyers wouldn’t do anything if someone didn’t hire them to do it. People love to complain about lawyers … until they need one.

  26. @Deb
    I’ve needed lawyers in the past – that’s why I make the comment I made.

    My goal is to never have to have them and when I do, control their greed

  27. @WingT …

    Lawyers are like any other professional … they charge by the case or by the hour. The greed issue comes into play in plaintiffs’ cases and at the high-stakes corporate level. Unless you’re playing in those arenas, I doubt you had to control your attorney’s greed. You’re just spouting off the typical jargon about lawyers … and wouldn’t if yours were in the room.

Leave a Reply

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.