Report: NFL asks for 35 percent of player salaries to be placed in escrow

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The profits are always privatized, and the losses are about to be socialized.

The NFL Players Association has informed its board of player representatives that the league wants to place 35 percent of player salaries in escrow in order to help manage costs during the 2020 season, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Media.

The proposal is described as an “option on the table.” And it’s one hell of an option.

NFL Media previously floated the possibility of salary givebacks this season, given that the league is facing lost revenue from fewer (or no) fans at games and fewer (or no) preseason games. The cancellation of regular-season games would reduce revenues even farther.

The labor deal has no mechanism to permit salary reductions. At best, if no games are played, the league would be able to argue under the language of the standard player contract that no duty to pay player salaries ever arises. If only one game is played, the CBA supports an argument that the players get their full pay.

The problem arises in 2021, when the salary cap would be impacted by reduced revenues in 2020. Reducing player pay now would be a hedge against that possibility.

Regardless, it would be easy for the players to say that, when things are going well, the league doesn’t give extra money to the players. And the players never get any of the ever-increasing value of the 32 franchises. Thus, the players could take the position that the deal is the deal — just like the league and plenty of media members say whenever there’s an aspect of the CBA that, as applied, hurts the broader interests of the players.

That said, if the players are intent on pushing for no preseason games, it’s only fair that the losses from playing no preseason games be shared. But that’s different from sharing reduced revenues, when the efforts, the sacrifices, and the risks of the players won’t change. In fact, this year those efforts, sacrifices, and risks will be even greater.

17 responses to “Report: NFL asks for 35 percent of player salaries to be placed in escrow

  1. Sometimes it’s better to just get a haircut instead of shaving your whole head !

  2. Seriously is this a joke … Mahomes just got 1/2 billion dollar contract and the next day the league wants to reduce the players salary.

  3. The cap reduction next year could devastatingly impact both player contracts and team building.

  4. Of course the league gives extra money to the players when things are going well. The salary cap, with mandatory minimum spend, goes up. Those profits are socialized.

  5. Love the guys that are straight up “no”…those guys probably also will file for bankruptcy with their business in the coming years or, most likely, never be able to run a business, because they don’t understand business – the owners went high with their offer, now is a great to counter with future profit sharing added to the next CBA.

  6. Players shouldn’t give back a cent this year. For many of them this is the end or the peak of their earnings.

    If the owners need the money (they don’t) they can pay the players 1/2 their salary this year and 120% of the unpaid salary next season.

    Salary cap is tied to revenues so if it goes down the players next year can suffer. Honestly what they should do it borrow future revenues to smooth out the cap so smaller increases in future years to offset what would otherwise be a big cap hit in 2021.

  7. NFL will get paid, one way or the other
    Too bad it’s coming out of our pockets

  8. I side with the teams they take all the risk if only a few games are played because players want to be paid in full nomatter what happens.

  9. Puh-leeze… NFL could pay a year’s worth of salaries from what they take in player fines alone.

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