Despite some huffing and puffing by owners about delaying the opening of training camp until a deal is reached on the financial aspects of pro football in a pandemic, optimism is building for a deal to be reached in the next few days.
The deal is expected to include plenty of the things for which the NFL Players Association currently is pressing, from an extended training-camp acclimation period to protections for guaranteed money to stipends in the event games are canceled, and opt-out rights for players.
As to the delicate issue of fully-guaranteed money, it’s believed that even if games are canceled fully-guaranteed salaries would still be paid. For non-guaranteed salaries, the players would be paid per game. For example, if a player has a fully-guaranteed salary of $16 million but only 10 games are played, he’d still get $16 million. A player with a non-guaranteed salary of $16 million would get only $10 million.
Despite the lack of a force majeure clause in the labor deal, the NFLPA recognizes the importance of reducing 2020 expenses in the event of canceled games (and even more 2020 lost revenue) because it would cause even more reductions to the 2021 cap, which is the mechanism in the labor deal for handling the 2020 losses. Also, by bending on the pay-as-you-play concept for players with non-guaranteed salaries, the NFLPA is more likely to achieve its objective to have the financial losses from 2020 applied to the years beyond 2021.
Regardless, and as previously explained, the NFL won’t — and can’t — lock players out over the absence of a deal on the financial aspects of the current predicament, because the two sides already have a deal that encompasses the financial aspects of the current predicament. That deal most likely will be replaced by something that is fair to both sides and that makes it easier to operate in 2021, and that new likely likely is coming very soon.