If you thought the fight over the new CBA was over, think again.
Free-agent safety Eric Reid has enlisted his collusion-case lawyer, Mark Geragos, to request invalidation of the new labor deal based on differences between the version proposed to players on March 5, 2020 and the final version, dated March 15, 2020, after the players ratified the CBA by a vote of 1,019 to 959. The letter also seeks a new vote on the CBA, along with an independent investigation regarding the reason(s) for the changes.
The four-page letter dated March 30, 2020 and signed by Ben Meiselas and Ray Genco of Geragos & Geragos points to inconsistencies in Article 60, Section 4 from the March 5 version of the CBA and the March 15 version of the CBA. Article 60 contains rules regarding the NFL Player Disability & Neurocognitive Benefit Plan. The revisions from March 5 to March 15, when applied to the relevant language of the disability plan, allegedly modify offset rules claims from made on or after January 1, 2015 to claims made prior to January 1, 2015.
The March 5, 2020 and March 15, 2020 agreements definitely contain different language in Article 60, Section 4. At a minimum, the difference in language cries out of an explanation because, indeed, the language should not have changed from the version on which the players voted to the final version — especially if, as alleged, the revisions make a significant change to eligibility for and/or amount of disability payments.
It’s unclear whether the appropriate remedy is invalidation of the entire agreement plus a new vote. The easiest fix, frankly, would be to make the March 5, 2020 version of the agreement the official CBA.
The demand for a new vote isn’t surprising; Reid was an outspoken opponent of the CBA, and Geragos previously prepared a written document analyzing the deal and recommending that players reject it.
Even if a new vote were taken, the CBA likely would pass. At these uncertain times, the players likely won’t embrace further uncertainty in the form of a 2021 offer that may not be nearly as favorable as the offer they accepted, given current global public-health and economic circumstances.
NFL Players Association spokesman George Atallah tells PFT that the union is aware of the letter, and that the union currently is reviewing it.