NFL floats possibility of asking players’ union for salary givebacks

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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.

38 responses to “NFL floats possibility of asking players’ union for salary givebacks

  1. This is gonna be a “hard no” for the players, right JJ, Wilson, Rodgers…?

  2. How about the 70% of the league that are people of color take a meaningful stand. Take a stand in conjunction with the NBA and MLB, and say enough is enough. Until things get rectified with Colin Kaepernick, and until America and it’s corporations like the NFL, NBA and MLB start making changes, real, bonified, changes, then they pass on playing until they do. What would the country and Corporate America say then? At the very least they would listen.

  3. The players do the same work and take the same risk of injury that is potentially disabling; yet, the owners want to shift their risk of ownership to the players without transferring the commensurate proportion of owner profit and making the players a stakeholder = risk without commensurate reward.

    What a bunch of feeble owners who don’t have the guts to accept the risk of ownership in a business venture, but instead act like they are the employees, and the players are the risk-taking owners.

  4. Not going to happen. Large majority of the league are on small salaries that aren’t guaranteed. They worry about their roster spot year to year. If they lose a year on that money they will be facing even stiffer competition to make the team next year. Those guys will never make that money back.

  5. In a sport where contracts are not gauranteed that’s a bitter pill to swallow to voluntarily give up money.

  6. Modify every actively rostered players contracts to a guarantee them for this year AND next year, and it has a chance. Many of these players won’t even be on rosters next year, and could care less about a potential salary cap reduction for the person taking their roster spot next year.

  7. The players do the same work and take the same risk of injury that is potentially disabling;
    _____________________________________________

    Players get paid very handsomely to do so. Don’t pretend they are somehow being exploited by the owners/league. If you have a problem with how players are treated your beef should be with the players union. They are charged with protecting their members and getting them the best deal possible.

  8. I’m okay with billionaires asking for money from millionaires. Usually they ask money from fans and tax incentives from city officials.

  9. The year-to-year turnover in the league is 10%. You want a couple of hundred players to agree to take less money this year so that the guys who take their jobs next year can be paid more?

    Good luck selling that one!

  10. I dont really know what the right answer to all of this is. However, I will say this. The owners/league have created a salary structure based on normal operating procedure. As in, fans in the stands, fans paying for parking, fans buying concessions, tv deals, radio deals, advertising, etc. If a portion of that cant happen, it seems unfair to act like the owners are the ones that have to get stiffed on that loss of revenue. The players are always talking about “fair”, right?

    With that said, mathematics should be able to figure this out fairly easily. Take every salary and divide up into a “per game” figure. If they play less than 16 games, you take 1/16 of their salary away for every game not played. Thats fair. If you play all 16 games, but half of them are without fans, you simply give them 8/16 of their salary as is. You take the remaining 8/16 of their salary, and adjust it based on the loss of the fans input into the pie. Maybe that means each of those 1/16 salary becomes 90% of 1/16. Or 97% of 1/16. Whatever the number is for fan contributions to the salary cap on gameday. That feels “fair” to me. But it wont for the players, or for the fans that find themselves siding with the players in negotiations. Keep in mind, the owners always win.

    The other aspect, as a fan, I admittedly do tend to lean toward the owners. The reason is simple. Its self serving. If the players get their 100%, the owners will incur a financial loss this year (less of a “loss” and more of a “made less than they wanted/expected to make”). So they will then raise costs in the future in order to make up for it. Now I, as a fan, am the one that loses out financially. Tickets are more expensive. Parking is more expensive. Concessions are more expensive. Screw that.

  11. You might want to inform the owners that there is a related blog dealing with MLB. If they read it they may learn something.

  12. “I dont really know what the right answer to all of this is.”

    Assuming they play a full season, leave the salaries alone this year, leave the cap at the same number next year…then keep the cap the same for the following year or two until the losses are made up.

  13. chc4 says:
    June 2, 2020 at 2:53 pm
    The players do the same work and take the same risk of injury that is potentially disabling;
    _____________________________________________

    Players get paid very handsomely to do so. Don’t pretend they are somehow being exploited by the owners/league. If you have a problem with how players are treated your beef should be with the players union. They are charged with protecting their members and getting them the best deal possible.

    If a deal can’t become possible….wait until revenue drops this season, resulting in a much lower salary cap next season.

  14. covid19 says:
    June 2, 2020 at 2:34 pm
    How about the 70% of the league that are people of color take a meaningful stand. Take a stand in conjunction with the NBA and MLB, and say enough is enough. Until things get rectified with Colin Kaepernick, and until America and it’s corporations like the NFL, NBA and MLB start making changes, real, bonified, changes, then they pass on playing until they do. What would the country and Corporate America say then? At the very least they would listen.
    —————-_————————-

    Please! This wouldn’t even be a threat. A bunch of disrespectful athletes that get paid and act like permanent victims. Real Americans will make this decision for them and not go to the games. Not watching these guys disrespect the American flag.

  15. I can just see the wholesale whinings as these players feel disrespected and liken NFL owners to slave masters. Can you imagine the prima donnas being required to give back their money? This will be fun but one or two of them will cause a big issue and get the media’s attention and start torching team property and running off with Surface tablets for their kids.

  16. I’m of the opinion that it’s the players’ responsibility to play the game and the owners’ responsibility to put butts in the seats. Each group is rewarded handsomely for the risks they take executing those responsibilities. As such, the owners should honor the contracts they signed. Not one owner in the league feels bad cutting a 32 year old RB with a $20 million base salary because the player had a down year the year before and not one player should feel bad for the owners who’ll take losses on the chin if the stands are empty.

    There are compromises to be made in this situation but the players need to make sure they are getting the money they are contractually owed

  17. The smartest plan would be to spread the pain long term over the 11 year labor deal and account for the fact that contracts have already been signed assuming a rising cap. Figure out how much money has been lost, set the cap to increase by the minimum amount within the expected range the next 3 years and then freeze the cap after 3 years with no increases past that point (which future contracts can account for) until the amount lost is made up with say 4% interest, and then resume the normal cap formula in year 6 or whatever when everything has been balanced out. While admission revenues may be down, NFL ratings could be up in fall, if less people are flying to disneyland and going to festivals and county fairs etc.

  18. So will they give players a salary increase during years when ticket sales revenue is above what’s projected?

    Didn’t think so.

  19. Salary Cap changes are based on revenue changes. Luckily for the players, the revenue has steadily increased year over year, so the salary cap and also salaries have risen in kind. However, this year won’t just be “small” decline in revenue with no fans in the seats, it will be a MASSIVE decline in revenue. The salary cap will contract by a big amount, and there will be cap casualties on every team, way more so than usual.

    The writing is on the wall. It’s the well compensated players that are most at risk. Do nothing this year, get cut and have to take way less starting the following year.

  20. It would make sense to compromise and take a litttle less,. In the long run it will hurt a lot more to have the salary cap slashed next year then to take a bit less

  21. First, they have to decide if football will actually be played this year. There’s still a pandemic you know. All it would take id for a few players to turn up positive to shut the League down like what happened in the NBA this year. Oh yes, last time I checked, it’s still is a CONTACT sport

  22. Marc in Bakersfield says:

    June 2, 2020 at 4:37 pm

    The smartest plan would be to spread the pain long term over the 11 year labor deal and account for the fact that contracts have already been signed assuming a rising cap. Figure out how much money has been lost, set the cap to increase by the minimum amount within the expected range the next 3 years and then freeze the cap after 3 years with no increases past that point (which future contracts can account for) until the amount lost is made up with say 4% interest, and then resume the normal cap formula in year 6 or whatever when everything has been balanced out. While admission revenues may be down, NFL ratings could be up in fall, if less people are flying to disneyland and going to festivals and county fairs etc.
    ——–
    I dont think you can judge a smartest plan when you seem to lack the basic knowledge of the cap. The “normal cap formula” is based on revenue which is why you cant acct for whats lost. Every year the salary cap comes in higher or lower than they project the only difference is this yr they know revenue is down so the target number is already below the current cap. As for “resuming normal cap formula in year 6” thats saying you assume that revenue will go back to what it was after 1 year and continue to increase which although possible isnt likely.

  23. The CBA governs revenue sharing.
    If it wasn’t covered in the CBA then it can’t be unilaterally imposed. If one side wants additional clauses added then they must negotiate them.
    What fans think doesn’t make any difference, it’s a contract.

  24. This is an industry where it is virtually impossible to lose money. It has been that way for the past few DECADES but one single bad year has the billionaire owners asking for money back? Nice try, guys.

  25. v2787 says:
    June 2, 2020 at 4:37 pm
    Because the billionaires need the money, right?
    _____________________________________________

    NAH the millionaire players do! Isn’t it a bit ironic that these are the same player’s that used to call the owners greedy, now it’s those same millionaire players that are just as greedy too, that must be one very contaguous disease, far worse than the coronavirus!

  26. They have to go with the way the contract was written. Asking players to take less money now would be unfair to players who will get cut or retire.

  27. The NFL hasn’t missed 1 game and just had the highest rated Draft in history. It’s way too premature to start talking about salary cuts. Even if the league plays in empty stadiums .. the ratings and revenue generated by advertisements will be through the roof.

    Maybe Roger should take a pay cut.. why that guy makes 40 million a year is beyond me.

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