Finally, someone has pointed out that which has been obvious to anyone paying attention to the ongoing CBA squabble within the NFL Players Association: The league is made up of haves and have-nots (or perhaps more accurately haves and have-mores), and they are naturally going to differ on whether the proposed labor deal is good for their individual interests.
“The fact of the matter that this is both a good deal and a not-so-good deal, depending on what kind of player you are,” NFLPA presidential candidate Sam Acho says in a video posted on Twitter. “Sixty-five percent of players in the NFL last year made minimum salaries. So when you talk about 20-percent increase effectively year over year in exchange for one extra game, that’s a really good deal. These are the kind of players that get excited about a fourth preseason game, because that’s another chance for them to show the coaches and the team their value. These are also the players that get excited about another playoff game, because for them that’s a pay raise and not a pay cut.”
This meshes with a point we’ve been making for the past few days. Roughly 20 guys on a given roster have genuine job security from one season to the next. For the other 43 (including practice-squad players), the question isn’t whether they want to play 17 games but whether they’ll eventually play in one.
“There’s a different kind of player that this deal isn’t as appealing to, and that’s the superstar player,” Acho explains. “Here’s why. Franchise tags are still in place. If you look at last year, 111 players were restricted in some way, shape, or form. That’s 111 out of 1900. It’s about half of one percent. Those players aren’t gonna love this deal. That franchise tag and the transition tag restricts them from free agency.”
(While 111 is actually 5.8 percent of 1,900, only six players were restricted by the franchise tag or the transition tag last year. That’s three tenths of one percent of all players. Five of the six franchise-tagged players in 2019 signed long-term deals; the lone exception was Jadeveon Clowney.)
“Also you look at the fifth-year option, which affects first-round picks,” Acho adds. “Thirty-two first-round picks aren’t gonna like that deal. But let’s not be fooled. This deal is a really good deal for a majority of NFL players who like most Americans who work get paid more if you play more. This deal eliminates superstar economics and it brings everyone up with a tidal wave.”
The deal isn’t a perfect deal. Collective bargaining will never create a perfect deal for one side or the other. The question is whether the deal is good enough; and NFLPA leadership has decided that it is. Acho, or some other candidate who supports the deal, seems like to eventually get the same 17 votes from members of the board of player representatives who agreed with NFLPA leadership 13 days ago.