For the second straight Thursday, the NFL Players Association Executive Committee and board of player representatives met to discuss a proposal from the NFL on a 10-year labor deal based on a 17-game regular season that would commence as early as 2021. For the second straight Thursday, the meeting did not resolve the issue one way or the other.
According to Mark Maske of the Washington Post, the group spent eight hours discussing the proposal. There was no resolution, and the internal deliberations are due to continue.
“Rough deadline” of March 18 or not, the reality is that the start of the new league year gives the two sides a reason to try to resolve the situation. As does the looming election of a new NFLPA president. If Chargers tackle Russell Okung gets the title, the 17-game proposal may be flushed for good.
Then there’s the urgency to do new TV deals. In order to max out the money, it makes sense to strike now, while ratings are high and before the election eats into them. Also, a recession is possible, which could limit the size of the offers from the various corporations that will be tightening belts during tougher times that could be here by next year at this time.
The question for the union is whether the offer from the NFL will ever get any better and, if not, whether to take it now or whether to dig in for a work stoppage, something most players simply aren’t willing to endure if it means losing the ability to play football and to get paid for it. At some point before March 18, they need to make that big-picture decision.