If NFL games have to be played in empty stadiums this season, league revenues will decline, and the players’ share of the league revenues will also decline, which will result in lowering next year’s salary cap. But the league is apparently planning to float the idea to players that they should agree to take less money this year, rather than wait until next year.
According to a report published by NFL Media, unnamed people within the league are hoping to trim players’ base salaries this season to account for lost ticket revenue, rather than wait until next season.
That, of course, would not sit well with a lot of players, but the report says the union would be amenable to negotiating with the league about taking less this year, provided it avoids a steep cut to the salary cap next year.
The NFL is hoping to avoid the kind of labor strife that Major League Baseball is going through right now. MLB and its players’ union are so far apart on an agreement about how long this pandemic-shortened season will be, and how much of their salaries the players will collect, that some observers fear there will be no baseball season at all.
Few think the NFL is at risk of having to cancel its season, but NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith only puts the chances of the NFL having a season at six or seven on a scale of 1-10. Smith may have been expressing a degree of pessimism specifically because he sees the owners trying to twist the players’ arms to take less money.