NFLPA will decide by October 15 whether to extend De Smith’s contract

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At first blush, it seemed odd that lawyer Cyrus Mehri declared his intention to challenge NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith in late August, months before the next election. Mehri’s timing now makes a lot more sense.

Mark Maske of the Washington Post reports that the NFLPA has established procedures that can make a March election moot. By October 15, a 14-person selection committee and, if necessary, the 32-team board of players representatives will determine whether to extend Smith’s contract without a full-blown election. A positive vote would end the issue; a negative vote would open the door to challengers.

“De Smith has given the vast majority of NFL players and the public at large the false impression that the election is in March of 2018,” Mehri told Maske. “Meanwhile, he devised a scheme with a virtually secret and unobtainable constitution to prevent any election at all.”

Here’s how the October vote will unfold. If all 14 members of the selection committee approve extending De Smith’s contract, it will happen automatically. If seven to 13 approve it, the board of player representatives would then vote of the matter. If two-thirds of them approve, the contract will be extended.

If six of fewer members of the selection committee favor a new contract or, absent unanimity of the selection committee, less than two-thirds of the player representatives authorize it, the job will be declared open. The selection committee would then identify two to four candidates for the job. Mehri wouldn’t automatically be one of them.

Mehri understandably is attacking the new procedures.

“It is ironic in a league where players have to compete every single day that De Smith is afraid of competition,” Mehri said. “NFL players deserve better. . . . We will not let him get away with this. Players deserve choices. We are going to fight every day to advance player voices and choices. To be the [executive director] of the NFLPA is a privilege that should be earned every three years in broad daylight. The stakes are too high to deprive NFL players of an opportunity to evaluate the candidates after a full debate.”

The new rules prevent the umpteen-candidate clusterfudge that unfolded in 2015, when would-be executive directors streamed out of the woodwork to challenge Smith. Those procedures actually help the incumbent, if the candidates approach or exceed 10.

Balanced against Mehri’s zeal for competition is the reality that the NFL Players Association also benefits from certainty and minimal internal turmoil, especially with a CBA negotiation looming. Giving Smith a clear vote of confidence at a time when Commissioner Roger Goodell (who never faces any election or competition for the job) is poised to be extended through 2024 could be the right message to send to management.

However it plays out, the executive director should have a contract that lasts through 2021. A three-year deal for Smith or Mehri or anyone else will result in the next contract expiring days after the labor contract expires. Which would not be good for the players, at all.

23 responses to “NFLPA will decide by October 15 whether to extend De Smith’s contract

  1. Hopefully the kids just entering the NFL, and in college who’re not already being paid millions shout down idiots who want to strike while these kids wait while making pennies on the dollar.

  2. This guy is clearly in over his head…the players might as well have Goodell as their executive director…

    The results would be the same..

  3. Cyrus Mehri would be a considerable opponent in a CBA negotiation.
    De Smith is…De Smith.

  4. Mehri is really smart, is an experienced negotiator, has great ideas for the NFLPA, and knows what he’s doing. Smith…well, not so much. This is a no-brainer. Dump Smith, hire Mehri.

  5. As evidenced by the election last time when Sean Gilbert was making similar noise, Smith isn’t going anywhere until he wants to leave this job. People talk like he lost on the last deal when he got them a pretty fair deal considering how some of the owners like Jerry Richardson wanted to steam roll the players. Imo, the only blunder made was selling out the rookies with that wage scale. It’s not the players’ problem if owners pick busts at the top of the draft, but that’s a moot point now. Otherwise, it was a fair deal for both sides.

  6. The bottom line is the owners are totally in control of the NFL. A strike doesn’t scare them one bit. They’ll hire replacement players, and continue to rake in billions. The players are making millions. A lot of these millionaire players didn’t grow up with money. Their families and extended families would not advise them to walk away from the kind of money they’re already making. Most fans are hard working folks, working paycheck to paycheck to support their families. They have zero sympathy for young guys making millions of dollars to play 4 months of football. Whether it’s D. Smith or this new guy Mehri, the owners are going to give whatever they want to give. Hopefully the players are smart enough to avoid losing millions of dollars while some dude makes a name for himself. The picket line would have more holes than Swiss cheese.

  7. There are more qualified people around, but most are not minorities so they probably won’t be considered because of the unofficial Gene Upshaw rule.

  8. Four years prior to the new CBA negotiations are to begin he has announced a strike. Only an inept clown would do such a moronic thing. Hopefully the players realize this and dump the dolt.

  9. Doesn’t really matter who’s leading the NFLPA.

    Between the knuckleheads who make a lot of money but don’t save a dime, and the scrubs whose career expectancy is nil, there’s just too many players who can’t afford to miss game checks to strike so guys like Beckham and Le’Veon Bell can make 15 million a year instead of 12.

  10. I don’t care who is in charge of the NFLPA, I just hope they go on strike in 2021. I want all these players to go without their paychecks for about a year or so so they get a dose of reality.

  11. Football players get the largest percentage of revenue of all of the pro sports. No one is changing the authority over conduct issues for the commissioner because that’s been in place since 1946. Smith got concessions on the recreational drug policy. So what are we talking about here. Players are never getting long term guaranteed contracts, nor should they. If they want them, play the FA game like Revis or franchise tag game like Kirk Cousins and Walter Jones back in the day. That’s available to every player in this league if they want to go that route, and if they’re good enough, they’ll make a lot of money. Their deal is more than fair with what the owners wanted to do with them last time if some people forget. People just repeat what they’re told when someone told them that the players lost on the deal. It was just that Upshaw’s last deal was that lopsided for the players, but this is pretty much 50:50 now for both sides. No brilliant negotiation is going to change that.

  12. bbk1000 says:
    August 27, 2017 at 5:55 pm
    This guy is clearly in over his head

    Over his head ????? I think it's beyond that. Dee Smith is too busy padding his colossal sized ego to effectively perform his job. He buffaloed the players with his tough talk to get elected, and then proceeds to screw the players by not comprehending the language in the contract that allowed Goodell to be judge and jury. Not to mention he accepted a smaller % of NFL revenue than the previous contract. These players need Dee Smith like a hole in the head.

  13. I’m not sure if it matters who leads the union. The owners have changed forever.The
    old way of working with the union where it was best for the owners and players.
    is gone. Now it is ” what is strictly the best deal for the owners” .
    Goodell’s campaign strategy focus on bringing all the owners
    into the league operations …” empowering” the owners was the key phrase.
    He also promised to opt out of the 2006 CBA and get millions back in concessions.
    Goodell recogmized the basic lack of power the NFLPA possesses.
    With a membership that essentially turns over every four years
    the labor situation between the owners and players is unusual at best.
    True labor negotiations are impossible. The PA has no power.

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