New NFLPA president has no gripes about the current CBA

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If Sean Gilbert’s plan for becoming the next executive director of the NFLPA arises from selling the idea of scrapping the current CBA, he could be overlooking one key fact.

Maybe the players don’t want to scrap the current CBA.

Sure, the fact that the owners aren’t complaining about the new labor deal creates the impression that they’re doing very, very, very well (especially since they were endlessly balking about the last CBA).  But maybe the two sides have achieved a real win-win, especially now that the salary cap has begun what could be an annual process of jumping by $10 million or more.

“I imagine if you go ask a bunch of players today if they wanted to get out of a salary cap that’s tied to soaring league revenues, they would say no,” new NFLPA president Eric Winston told Robert Klemko of  “We’re creeping into some pretty obscene numbers. We’re already there in my opinion.

“Plus, the guys that went through that fight understand how much more the CBA is than just the cap. The owners were asking for two more games, to take away our benefit plan and several other points. We fought that war on a lot of different points. In battle, the enemy has a vote too. You’re never going to get everything. We got some things we wanted, they got some long-term stability they were craving. It’s easy to say, ‘We’re going to scrap this deal and I’m going to get you more money!’ Well, how? You think the owners are going to roll over for you and say, ‘You’re so much better than the last guy—here’s everything you want!’ I’m not interested in playing two more games for those extra benefits, and I don’t see a lot of players going for it.”

Winston’s point is a valid one.  What would scrapping the current CBA accomplish?  It would merely set the stage for a strike or a lockout.  With Gilbert — who once sat out a full season to get the contract he wanted — running the union, the thing the players clearly didn’t want in 2011 would be far more likely to happen if the current CBA ends early.

Football is premised on winning and losing.  Maybe that’s why so many believe that, in everything remotely related to football, there always must be a winner and a loser.  From trades to player contracts to CBA negotiations, a mutual victory feels like a tie.  And everybody hates a tie.

Maybe the current CBA is, when all things are considered, a win-win.  Maybe, by avoiding the loss of regular season games in 2011 and creating a formula premised on a 50-50 sharing of revenues and dramatically limiting contact in practices, the players have benefited along with the owners.

Regardless, there’s one way for everyone to lose.  That happens if the CBA evaporates, a new one can’t be negotiated, and both sides dig in for weeks or months or maybe a full year without football.

In the end, that’s always the “or else” or either side of the NFL’s labor deal.  As the game continues to grow and grow, it’s an “or else” that no one should ever want.

18 responses to “New NFLPA president has no gripes about the current CBA

  1. Maybe the players don’t want to scrap the current CBA.


    Well, this can’t be. For the last two years Mike Florio has time and again insisted that the CBA was a horrible deal for the players and if there was any way they could scrap it, they would immediately.

  2. dramatically limiting contact in practices has really hurt the quality of football on the field.

  3. Sean Gilbert will be a bad thing for the league, but especially for the fans. He sat out a year for a contract dispute, he encouraged his nephew (Revis) to do the same. He will try to rip up the deal and sit out as long as it takes to get a new one. If the salary cap keeps rising, there’s no need to rip up the deal.

  4. salaries are going up….. the game remains popular… and future revenue projections continue to rise.. I call it a win win.

  5. I thought the main problem they had was that Goodell had too much power. Perhaps that sentiment is only held by a vocal minority.

  6. Given the rise in the salary cap and the fact teams now MUST spend 90+% on player salaries coupled with reduced practices I would say the players did pretty well.

    Gilbert the greedy will end up causing another lockout and long term damage to the league.

  7. This is the same question that DeSean Jackson asked himself a few months ago. The answer is more money. You can get more money if you fight for it. But you have to be prepared to embrace the suck when things get ugly and if you aren’t committed to a nasty battle that still has grave risks of completely changing your life for the worse then you shouldn’t be getting greedy.

  8. The players are smart enough to know that they can’t win a labor dispute. I think it stinks that the owners will always come out ahead, and would love to see a better CBA. But when you have six years to make a fortune for a lifetime, and there is money flowing down to you now, you would be foolish to risk being eaten alive again by the owners. Because they will do exactly what they did in the last dispute, and it will work.

  9. @eagleswin

    Please to explain your comment. I wouldn’t think to ask you to justify it. I can’t imagine how you would justify it, not in a logical, thoughtful, open minded way. I’d gladly hear your opinion, offer some counter point, and go from there…something tells me you wouldn’t be interested in something so open minded & civil.

  10. I 100 % agree with the quality of the game being affected due to the limited practices and contact. At first it was the shorted off-season.

    But I watch the way team’s are run blocking, tackling is probably the worst it has ever been in the NFL. Those are two areas I really see the dramatic fall off, I am sure coaches see far more than I do.

  11. “The enemy”?? Come on Winston, don’t start with the over the top rhetoric. If you really think the owners are your enemy don’t cash their paychecks.

  12. I hated Sean Gilbert back in the day for all his contract shenanigans. Then he encouraged Revis to do the same. Yep, its pretty clear he’d rather opt out, strike, and litigate rather than let the players earn a living playing. Hope he doesn’t even make the ballot.

  13. Sean Gilbert sounds like a politician; loud & inflammatory so as to scare the voters into asking him to protect them from the big, bad NFL. The guys who burn down the house to get in usually benefit no one but themselves. From what’s printed here Eric Winston seems to have reasoned the pros & cons out & takes a balanced approach. Everyone from players, owners & football fans benefit from this.

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