NFLPA will have a hard time getting veterans to skip offseason workouts

Minnesota Vikings go through drills during OTA
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For the NFLPA, in-season work stoppages don’t work, because no players want to lose game checks. An offseason boycott also may not work, because veterans players won’t want to risk losing the ability to earn game checks.

Although union leadership reportedly is recommending a boycott of on-field offseason workouts, there’s a good chance the boycott will fail. Incoming draft picks and undrafted rookies, none of whom are currently members of the union, will relish the opportunity to develop without veterans there to consume key reps. And if young players show that they can be trusted, they will have a better chance to supplant older and more expensive veterans on the 53-man roster — especially if those veterans choose not to participate in offseason workouts.

Beyond the players with six-figure payments tied to showing up for the vast majority of the voluntary workouts, players with six- and seven-figure base salaries will want to protect their turf by showing up, getting in shape, receiving practice reps, and more importantly keeping rookies and other unproven players from earning first-team opportunities.

Union leadership ostensibly is concerned about the pandemic. Given, however, the manner in which the NFL has proven that it can effectively co-exist with the virus, it’s hard to think that players would become less safe working out at team facilities than they would be while working out on their own.

Remember, the union primarily is run by older players. Older players naturally benefit from the lack of offseason reps for everyone. In this year, with a drastically reduced salary cap that could make teams more inclined to entrust key roles to younger, cheaper players, it makes sense that older players would prefer young players to have no offseason chances to learn the ropes.

Thus, the challenge for the union becomes persuading young players who would benefit most from showing up when veterans don’t to agree to stay away. Given the unique realities of pro football’s rank and file, it’s unlikely that players who otherwise face getting cut in September will sacrifice their ability to enhance their standing by participating in any and all offseason workouts.

22 responses to “NFLPA will have a hard time getting veterans to skip offseason workouts

  1. Don’t most jobs have year-round attendance expectations? I’m usually on the player’s side, but with the money they’re paid, is it really asking too much to attend a few off-season practices?

  2. If your work has an unpaid voluntary “show up on Saturday”, but you live across the country… would you go? Especially if you risked injury when you got there?

  3. 50DrunksInABar says:
    April 9, 2021 at 8:28 pm
    If your work has an unpaid voluntary “show up on Saturday”, but you live across the country… would you go? Especially if you risked injury when you got there?
    —————————–
    Most contracts now have workout bonuses. With this type of action, the workout bonuses will become a larger part of the contract.

  4. Once again, the union is not looking out for the older player. The league will drop a veteran in a heartbeat if they can find a CHEAPER, younger player. It’s about the money and control of the player. It is fine to say lets boycott however you need to really know what you are doing and what the outcome might be if the boycott doesn’t work.

  5. As soon as week one rolls around, coaches will be very forgiving, and put their best players on the field. Coaches are very competitive men, and they want to win. This pandemic will pass, and everything will eventually be back to normal. GM’s are very competitive too. Intelligent people look out for their health, and intelligent people generally make the best football players, too.

  6. Not going to off season workouts and boycotting by vets was a tremendously bad idea coming from the NFLPA to begin with. Do they even remotely know what they are doing?

  7. purpleguy says: “Don’t most jobs have year-round attendance expectations? I’m usually on the player’s side, but with the money they’re paid, is it really asking too much to attend a few off-season practices?”
    ———————-

    Fine. Make them PAID off-season practices.

    As for “older” veterans, many of them have started families by then. Off-season is the ONLY time they get to spend quality time with them. Think about it – Kirk Cousins had his football days scheduled by 15 minute blocks – not much time for family during season.

  8. scoreatwill says: “Once again, the union is not looking out for the older player. The league will drop a veteran in a heartbeat if they can find a CHEAPER, younger player.”
    ———————-

    The NFL has a MINIMUM salary floor of 90% of the cap. Going cheaper is pointless when teams have to spend the full amount.

    What are you going to do? Use the money “saved” by dropping the veteran just to overpay a rookie to get back up to the minimum?

  9. “it’s unlikely that players who otherwise face getting cut in September will sacrifice their ability to enhance their standing by participating in any and all offseason workouts.”

    Exactly, and it’s foolish for the union to encourage them to stay away.

  10. “ Once again, the union is not looking out for the older player.”

    I’d probably characterize it as not looking out for anyone but star players. The stars will likely play whether they show up or not to OTAs. The everyday guys, rookies and non roster guys are the ones at risk for following this advice.

  11. Union leaders all to often give poor advice that don’t benefit their members. Supporting political candidates that promote foreign workers over American citizens and candidates that promote agendas that push corporations overseas because of excessive regulations and high taxes… all of which ultimately cause American union workers to lose jobs.

  12. Maybe the NFLPA could wrap everyone in bubble wrap?
    The more they try to protect these increasingly coddled players they set them up for injury when the regular season starts for real.

    Soft muscles….no hitting….no conditioning….and all of a sudden they’re supposed to go 100 MPH. That sets them up for injury more than anything else.

  13. chefboyd says:
    April 9, 2021 at 9:52 pm
    purpleguy says: “Don’t most jobs have year-round attendance expectations? I’m usually on the player’s side, but with the money they’re paid, is it really asking too much to attend a few off-season practices?”
    ———————-

    Fine. Make them PAID off-season practices.

    As for “older” veterans, many of them have started families by then. Off-season is the ONLY time they get to spend quality time with them. Think about it – Kirk Cousins had his football days scheduled by 15 minute blocks – not much time for family during season.

    —————————————
    You can’t think about football players like they are hourly paid factory workers. They are highly compensated salaried employees. As such, there are often expectations of showing up on weekends or staying late or coming in early outside of “normal” office hours without additional pay. It is just part of the job. One could chose not to do so, but that has consequences, usually negative.

  14. “Union leaders all to often give poor advice that don’t benefit their members. Supporting political candidates that promote foreign workers over American citizens and candidates that promote agendas that push corporations overseas because of excessive regulations and high taxes… all of which ultimately cause American union workers to lose jobs.”

    There has never been a political candidate who supported foreign workers over US workers, or promoted agendas pushing corporations overseas. Not a single one. No candidate could ever get elected promoting either of those positions.

  15. This level of honesty, without narrative is out of character. Looks like there’s a new story line developing in the bowels of the blog. Can’t wait!
    JJ

  16. Why exactly would they be boycotting whats in it for the Union did they not just recently reupped for 10 years. See you in 7 yrs when you try and fail again at getting NFL players to give up game checks. Last time they did they all ending up paying ridiculous interest rates on the loans they took out.

  17. Unions? Was in one for way too long. Don’t see the return for the dues i paid. meh….

  18. “The NFL has a MINIMUM salary floor of 90% of the cap. Going cheaper is pointless when teams have to spend the full amount.

    What are you going to do? Use the money “saved” by dropping the veteran just to overpay a rookie to get back up to the minimum?”
    ___________

    No, they’ll use that money to pay another superstar or two and then fill in around them with rookies. This has become the new norm. If you’re a veteran player who isn’t a star (or bare minimum a locked-in starter) you are at a huge disadvantage right now. Veterans as backups is way less common than it used to be because guys on their rookie deals are cheaper and any saved money is needed for the stars.

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