Seven-year opt out isn’t necessary, or helpful

As best we can tell, there are two primary issues that need to be resolved before the labor deal can be worked out.  First, the league and the players need to figure out how best to reconstitute the union.  Second, the league and the players need to agree on the length of the deal.

On the latter point, the league has approved a deal that covers a firm 10 years.  The players want the ability to cancel the contract after seven years.

Moments ago, a league source who best can be described as the closest thing to neutral in this process (if anything, the source is positioned to be more aligned with the players’ interests) explained why the deal should cover a full and firm 10 years, with no opt out for either side.

First, if revenue continues to grow, the deal will never be bad for the players.  NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith has pushed the owners from wanting to pay the players 40 cents of every dollar earned up to 48 cents per dollar.  Though 49ers linebacker and team player representative Takeo Spikes said Friday on ESPN that inflation could be a factor down the road, inflation never will be a factor when the players are getting paid on the gross revenue generated by the owners, who will necessarily adjust prices to reflect inflation, since the owners are getting the other 52 cents of each dollar.

Second, if the revenue shrinks, it won’t matter whether the players aren’t happy with the deal.  They’d still be paid on the gross, and the league wouldn’t be likely to give the players a bigger piece of an unexpectedly shrinking pie.

Third, the upside will be better if the league can sell long-term labor peace to the networks.  The source of big money over the next decade will be TV contracts, and the folks who’ll decide how much to pay for the privilege of broadcasting NFL games will be more comfortable with the notion of locking in at huge numbers if the dark clouds of labor unrest can’t return until 2021, at the earliest.

And so the players who are pushing for the opt out need to ask themselves a frank and candid question:  Am I doing this simply because I don’t like the fact that the owners opted out of the last deal, and I want to have the ability to make them worry about whether we will do it, too?

If the TV money weren’t potentially going to be impacted by the potential uncertainty, the best move would be for the league to agree to the opt out, confident that the players won’t.  But with the networks looking for long-term peace in order to break out long-term billions, this needs to be a 10-year deal, with no opt out.

If that means the players need to take a little more time to figure things out, so be it.  But with this being the only truly substantive point left, they need to do it soon.  At some point, here’s hoping that the players will decide that 10 years makes sense for everyone.

50 responses to “Seven-year opt out isn’t necessary, or helpful

  1. The problem is how many of the players in the league will still be in the league in 10 years time?
    A whole lot less than there will be in 7 years time, you really think that players care about the players that come after them? They care for themselves NOW, not the guys they replaced or the guys that will replace them, if they could get away with asking for an opt out clause in every year of the deal I bet they would do it.
    The Owners are in it for the long haul being as they are in a long term position, the players want the best they can get now and the chance to maybe get a better deal as soon as possible.

  2. F the players… they have had the damn agreement since Wednesday and are still dragging their feet with zero results! Not to mention using the funeral of Mrs. Kraft as a cover for dragging this thing out longer… F U PLAYERS!!!

  3. I disagree, every contract needs an opt out, with penalties for the side that opts out. Situations and conditions change over any time frame. Perhaps, give the players an opt out option, but, couple it with a significant loss, say a 30% decrease in salaries and loss of some conditions approved in this cba. For the owners, give them the same option, with similar penalties, ie, a 30% increase in salaries and addition of additional benefits not covered in this cba.

    Have the options available, but at significant cost to the excercisee of the option.

  4. It’s pretty obvious the majority of the players haven’t been paying attention to the specifics of this entire process and don’t even understand what’s in the new CBA. They don’t realize the new CBA does benefit everyone as long as the league is successful, and they need to stop thinking in terms of the players and the league separately.

  5. these players dont get it they are just coming up with things to say so they can drag this out for whatever reasons maybe to get the weed out of their systems so they dont fail drug tests, cut down training camps so they can be lazy or they are just ignorant of the proposed cba and need more time to understand it. with it taking this long they obviously never went completely over it before so i think that the owners didnt slip anything in the players never knew all what was in the cba. But about the takeo spikes thing worried about inflation is stupid because theyll make 48% percent of what the dollar is worth at the time as will the owners. its not like the owners will be making 52% on the worth of the 2011 dollar economically its not possible so that argument is null and void!

  6. Everyone,

    Please read Whitlock’s new column. At least for the perspective. None of you will agree with it.

    “It’s clear now the owners are more desperate for a new collective bargaining agreement than the players. Peter King wrote the NFL’s boring-as-televised-poker exhibition season is worth $800 million. The NFL’s lone problem is greedy owners. There’s nothing else significantly wrong with the game. This lockout was a bogus waste of time.” — Jason Whitlock.

  7. owners wont be making 52% on the worth of the 2011 dollar throughout the 10 year deal theyll be making 52% on whatever the dollar is worth at the time so that clears up what i was trying to say in my earlier post.

  8. Prediction: the players are going to blow off the Tuesday deadline, to try to stick it to the owners. This will sacrifice the first week of the preseason, which will kill the owners profits. The owners will get ticked and pull the deal off of the table, wanting to rework the revenue sharing so that they can make a profit. Then, we’ll be back to square one, and the regular season will be affected, if not lost entirely.

    At this point, I’ll stop caring, stop buying Packers stuff, stop driving to bars with NFL Sunday Ticket in hopes of watching my team. I’ll watch if they’re on, but I’ll put my money towards more important stuff.

  9. Good post and why would I think Kessler may be in the background with “new” bargaining points, such as a seven year opt out, whatnot.

  10. “And so the players who are pushing for the opt out need to ask themselves a frank and candid question: Am I doing this simply because I don’t like the fact that the owners opted out of the last deal, and I want to have the ability to make them worry about whether we will do it, too?”

    Yes, they are doing it out of spite. That is it plain and simple.

  11. And what is the fuss about reconstituting the union? They are still virtually a union – at least in the eyes of the 8th Ct of Appeals. Just sign the damn card when you pick up your gear – and somebody please go out and shoot Kessler.

  12. Takeo Spikes cost me $100 yesterday for a cleaning bill. When he said on the radio ‘the players are smart people, we ask smart questions’ I spit coffee all over my car upholstery in disbelief. They are so busy trying to convince themselves and everybody else they are smart, they are stomping on common sense. The over reaction to revenue sharing was a prime example, these boneheads couldn’t even reason for themselves what revenue sharing is, all it took was an inflammatory email from De Smith for them to form a mob and light their torches on twitter. And then my boy Spikes uses inflation as a concern…when the players are getting a fixed percentage of revenues. And he is the player rep? Unreal, they need to get back to their day jobs.

  13. It’s becoming equally clear to me that the players may well be dragging this out so they can skip the first preseason game. Heck, they’ve already dodged the mini-camps and OTAs and they’re already looking at a shortened training camp (with no two-a-days). Hmmmm. You don’t suppose work avoidance is creeping in here, do you? Nah, with these prima donnas, never happen! They probably have some beachfront property in Nevada they’d like to sell the owners while they’re at it.

  14. While I agree with your post, it is not about the substance of the “unresolved” issues – it’s about delaying the process. To say the player reps need to read the 300-500 pages of legaleze to understand the issues is absurd and only another reason for delay. Having practised law for more than three decades, I have never had a client that could or would read and understand such a detailed document. The delay seems to have the fingerprints of the NFLPA* lawyers all over it. Delay equals an opportunity to blow up the agreement and proceed with the lawsuits. Same for the certification process. Why do the players insist on an archaic process of signed cards? Obviously it’s to delay.

    As you point out, the critical point the players forget is that the money comes from television and public perception. Players play for three or four years and then try to trade off their reputation. Each time player goes on televion or Twitter and tries to justify the delay, their value as a commercial spokesman declines – they are costing themselves endorsements and their future. According to internet sources, the majority of players are not college graduates and have only their public persona to cash in when they find themselves unemployed at age 26.

    I really feel sorry for the players who appear to be in the grip of the agendas of their advisors. They’ve traded their 15 minutes of fame for their future – something Brees, Bradey and Manning know very well.

  15. At the begining of the lockout i was 100% with players rights. The owners were greedy and the players were innocent puppets. Now, i dont give a rats ass if they make the season 82 games with 10 preseason games and international games and make the players play on a field with potholes during thunderstorms making $10 a season. i wanna watch some damn football.

    Ok not really but they need to stop making seem like the lockout is days away from ending when clearly its not. The players are in the meetings like they know how to handle business agaisnt the wealthiest people in their respected cities when half the players in the NFL dont even know how to do math.

  16. Takeo Spikes doesnt even know what inflation is.

    and with his huge salary he wont even notice it.

  17. Best way to get all these guts to sign is start a fan revolt!!! Fans are in complete control and don’t even realize it! Stop buying NFL tickets! Jerseys! And so on..,,


  18. The players dont need an opt out clause. They have what blue collar workers call a “STRIKE”.

  19. If the owners had and used the opted out clause in the last CBA, the players should be able to have one in this one. If its a deal breaker, then so be it. No fair deal…no football.

  20. Since the players are not happy with their current employers, why don’t they do like everyone else and go find another job?

    I’m sure, since most of them have 4 year degrees from prestigious colleges, they should have no problem finding another job where they can work 6 or 7 months out of the year and get paid a minimum of $325,000. per year! LOL

    Sorry, I just have a hard time feeling sorry for a guy making millions for playing a game.

  21. If I told Takeo SPikes I would give him one gold US Dollar coin for one of his $100 bills I bet he would say NO.

  22. I am truly pro player but when this issue is put out there plain and simple, not mention makes sense it’s time to let it go vote and play football

  23. Its articles like this that make me wonder what in the hell is De Smith doing. These players are spouting on off on national TV and radio having little to no insight on the pertinent details of this agreement. It is making them look stupid. To say lack of communication on behalf of the NFLPA has been an issue is a gross understatement. I am starting to believe the players are just not smart enough to understand the details of this agreement.

    On a unrelated note I really hate Heath Evans, did not before, but do now. JUST STFU!

  24. The last paragraph of this article is dead on! Last sentence especially!! When these chumps(players) realize this is a partnership we can all move on!

  25. For an occupation where the average time spent in such a career is less than 5 years or something, why in the hell are they haggling over 7 or 10 years length of contract?

  26. The gains the players have made in this process are actually pretty amazing. The senile owners obviously outsmarted themselves with their cute little lockout ploy. I bet they wish they could re-do that plan. LOL.

  27. With millions of people who have lost their jobs, millions of families who have lost their homes, and thousands of more people living on the street or in tent cities now, these million dollar athletes, who play a game which means little to nothing on the large scheme of life………………..Stuck on stupid (D.Smith NFLPA), morons.Sign the damn CBA.. Go get a real job….

  28. We need a fans union. These are our demands…
    1. The show must go on. Start negotiating two years early if you have to, but no work stoppage under any circumstances, ever.
    2. No more price gouging. Not on tickets, parking or concessions. We will negotiate fair prices. $37 to park and $200-$900 for tickets are absurd.
    3. See number one.

    These demands need to be met or we will not support the NFL in any way. Then no one gets anything.

  29. There is no reason for the players not to want this either. Can anyone predict what the NFL landscape will look like 7 years from now? Sure, chances are it may be fine and the players may never want to opt-out. But why not have the protection? Especially with a commissioner like Goodell leading the sport, the players may want to opt out in 7 years not for financial reasons, but to put in place any rules they may want to stop this commissioner from taking even more unilateral actions then he has already taken.

    And I don’t for one second believe anyone with the NFL is neutral or closer aligned with the players. Why would that be the case?

  30. The players should have attended real classes thoughout their school careers then maybe they could act as the wise people they pretend to be instead of winding babies.

    Geez, what over grown babies; it would be helpful if they could read.

  31. Bravo to the owners, I’m now 100% on their side. They did their job by voting and signing, now the nflpa* is effin with my emotions. GET TO WORK CLOWNS!!

  32. I never knew how dumb the players really were until they began to comment on the owners agreement (George Wilson, Heath Evans, Joshua Cribbs).

    De Smith is a moron. He had an issue with the NFL creating a supplemental revenue sharing program. That’s not an issue that affects the players. The owners work out the details of revenue sharing in order to help small-market teams. It’s doesn’t affect how much money the players receive in any way.

    The players got a very good deal. The GM’s have to sign free agents and rookies in just three days. Why can’ the players work out the issues that can only be settled after they recertify in three days?

    That’s why the players haven’t voted yet. They want more time than three days to resolve issues like player discipline. The players also feel the owners are pressuring them to vote.

    Take the vote and go back to work!

  33. I don’t see why there can’t be a provision in the CBA that if one party wants to change something, they can bring it up at the next set of annual meetings, etc. If it’s truly important, they can work it into the existing framework?

    Players are being douche-nozzles at this stage of the game. They were supposed to know what was what and at this point, they are running around like spoiled brats, complaining about something that isn’t even applicable to them.


  34. Wait, the players did not elect to take contract law and comprehension in college?? Maybe the owners should have organized the CBA as a Movie similar to ones viewed in “Motion Picture Cinema Watching 101”.

  35. “If the owners had and used the opted out clause in the last CBA, the players should be able to have one in this one. If its a deal breaker, then so be it. No fair deal…no football.”


    This is kindergarden caliber reasoning. The owners needed the opt out because the smaller market teams could not turn a profit under the last CBA. Those small market owners knew that during the negotiations and insisted on the opt out. The players allowed the opt out because they knew they were getting a great deal, even if it was only for two seasons.

    This CBA is different. The players are scoring big time with a 90% salary floor. Opting out of a 90% floor is moronic, and I guarantee that if any of the small market teams struggle year in and year out under this deal, the union will never see a 90% floor ever again. The wise move for the players is to accept it and lock in for the next decade.

  36. The players didn’t want the opt out until the owners passed it with 31 votes. The it became a case of “well the owners like the deal too much, so it must not be good for us”. Childish.

  37. @httr73: Agreed.

    I played 23 seasons of organized baseball and softball for love of the game. I’m not wealthy. But I HAD over 1,000 ticket stubs from MLB games, none since the 1994 strike; I believe the players have an almost sacred responsibility not to kill the series. Bye y’all.
    I am a FAR bigger fan of football than baseball. I played 24 years for love of the game. NFL players seem to have lost sight of: they NEED the FANS. We don’t NEED them. And it doesn’t bother me if the owners make a profit. Capitalism is millions of times better than socialism! I don’t sympathize PERIOD with men who will betray the fans because “$500,000 is just NOT enough! I need $510,000, or I will kill the game!” If you do, for me it’s College Football! and Sundays FREE!

  38. oldbrowndawg says:
    Jul 23, 2011 12:15 PM
    It’s becoming equally clear to me that the players may well be dragging this out so they can skip the first preseason game. Heck, they’ve already dodged the mini-camps and OTAs and they’re already looking at a shortened training camp (with no two-a-days). Hmmmm. You don’t suppose work avoidance is creeping in here, do you? Nah, with these prima donnas, never happen! They probably have some beachfront property in Nevada they’d like to sell the owners while they’re at it.


    Hey Oldbrowndawg, When did California fall into the ocean?? I wasn’t aware Nevada had “beachfront property.” No wonder these players are taking so long to sign this deal.. I do agree with you work avoidance theory though! Lol

  39. @hansenbrothers: “I’ll be putting my money towards more important stuff”… Like Chief’s Gear? *hehe*

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