NFLPA also wants rookies to not show up for rookie minicamp, offseason workouts

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Caught between the league and the union regarding the question of whether players will show up for voluntary offseason workouts are rookies, draft picks and undrafted free agents who would particularly benefit from the extra work. On Monday, the NFL Players Association made the case to the rookies and their agents to skip voluntary workouts, for the same reasons veterans are staying away.

Per a source with knowledge of the conference call, multiple agents pushed back against the notion that rookies should stay away. And for good reason.

First, the rookies who show up for offseason workouts get free room and board during the offseason program, providing a seamless introduction to their new cities. Second, they get chances to learn and develop, better positioning them to earn one of the available roster spots during training camp and the preseason. Third, and perhaps most importantly, plenty of rookies who don’t show up will be signing their own pink slips.

First- and second-round picks who don’t show up for the offseason will likely be safe. Third-round picks may end up in greater danger of sitting the season on the bench. From round four down to round seven, refusing to show up increasingly guarantees that the player won’t make the 53-man roster — and that he possibly won’t make the practice squad.

For undrafted rookies who hope to make the team without participating in offseason workouts, why even bother unpacking their bags? They’ll likely be cut before training camp even opens.

Agents who represent the interests of individual players understand these dynamics. They want their clients to be best positioned to make the team and to earn an NFL salary. They will resist the collective effort to stay away from workouts. They undoubtedly will tell their clients to show up.

This likely will be a topic of conversation during the union’s open call for all players, set for 4:00 p.m. ET today. The question is whether many rookies will dial in. All of them should. All of them should hear what’s said, so that they can make the best decisions they can regarding the commencement of their NFL careers.

And if they call, here’s a fair question to ask. Why aren’t veteran players from teams that aggressively use roster bonuses being asked to put some of their money at risk when rookies are being asked to put all of theirs in danger?

25 responses to “NFLPA also wants rookies to not show up for rookie minicamp, offseason workouts

  1. Maybe the NFLPA should have been more aggressive during the CBA talks when it really mattered. Now they are just like barking dogs.

  2. How aweful of these owners to want their players whom they pay millions of dollars to train and workout at their facilities so that they can ensure they are staying in shape and evaluate their top players. Shame on them! Good thing there are unions that fight these “exploitative” practices. Good grief the world has gone mad…

  3. Yeah – right! If the agents were any good, they would tell the rookies to turn up! First impressions and all that…

  4. The NFLPA is becoming something of a villain. It’s one thing to advocate for those you represent, but they’re resorting to distortions and outright lies to play games for selfish gains. They had every right to use leverage to encourage players to work out away from their teams, but the risk was known and the league had every right to take a “see, we told you this wasn’t a good idea” stance in the aftermath of the James injury. The NFLPA response was just terrible; they want to have their cake and eat it too, to be selfish while being seen as the good guys. Ever since JC Tretter tried to BS fans with claims that the product on the field hadn’t suffer last year due to the reduced offseason (it absolutely did), I’ve been wary of the direction the NFLPA is taking.

  5. This is getting ridiculous. The NFLPA wants rookies not to show up after they have devoted much of their lives to get to the point of finally being paid (above board) to live their dreams by making an NFL roster. Totally tone deaf.

  6. the less rookies that show up, the less of a chance a vet is cut because the rookie took their place.

  7. I think the NFLPA does A Lot that is Not in the best interests of the players they are supposed to represent.

  8. More and more, it seems like unions are fighting for something other than the best interests of those they represent.

  9. They want all rookies, drafted and undrafted ones to skip voluntary workouts? So, how are the undrafted free agents and the bottom round draftees supposed to impress and even make the team? By sitting home because the NFLPA has an agenda? How’s that working out Ja’Wuan James? Is the union going to pay his lost wages?…….a typical union, more about their agendas’, then the people they are supposed to represent,.

  10. Madness. D Smith should be out as head of the Union. There is nothing he has not botched. Sorry, but the NFL is right. My opinion has nothing to do with Ja’Waun playing on 63 snaps with the Broncos. With the money he’s pocketed already that is $270k per snap.

  11. NFLPA is run by and always serves veteran players interests over anything else.

    Smart rookies should best ignore the pressure from the union as it only serves to preserve veteran jobs over younger player’s jobs. Get out there and TAKE yours, it won’t be given to you. The union will have little interest in you when you’re OUT of the league.

  12. Okay, let me make sure I understand this. The NFLPA wants players trying to get a job interview (and that is what voluntary workouts are) to not show up for said interview. I assume that the NFLPA will guarantee salaries for all those that do not show up? (Eye roll here)

  13. The NFLPA has to be one of the worst unions of all times. The only way lower level players rookies and vets will make a team is to get all of the reps possible, not showing up almost guarantees they will be cut. Moreover, the players with bonuses and certain boy-scout type players will show-up and divide locker rooms.

    The NFLPA really should find a different cause to push then one that scarifies players careers so Trotter can self promote himself as something that isn’t stupid and worthless.

  14. This might be the most inept union leadership in the history of sports.

  15. i wish we had the full big picture. For the union leadership to encourage players to risk braeching a portion of their contract, then discourage Rookies from attending Mini camps etc, when they don’t have a choice to opt out of joining the NFLPA, knowing the risk is magnified for a Rookie, that’s not in the best interest of the majority. At minimum, the NFLPA should negotiate policies with insurers for players to take advantage of if they do choose to train away from the team facility.
    With an innumerable amount of variables to consider, it would probably be rediculously expensive.
    Employers have different medical coverage for Union vs non union employees all the time.
    If the NFLPA is going to take this course, then the players need to demand accountability from their leaders.
    Sure playing in the league is a unique privlege. But between not being able to choose where you want to start your career, then being forced to join a union that doesn’t have the best interest in mind for it’s majority, Rookies and most of the players definitely don’t have an easy path.

  16. Yeah, emotions and feelings are way more important than a signed contract.

  17. Even one year at NFL minimum for one year is the most money many will ever make. Even after taxes, having enough money to buy a nice home is a good way to start their new lives after football.

  18. The same rookies who have not earned a starting spot or even a roster spot on the team. The same rookies who have not made a single dollar in the NFL. The same rookies that want to make a name for themselves and get their career started and be the best they can be. I encourage the NFLPA not to attend CBA negotiations from now on too.

  19. The time to seriously consider the real need for them to have their own Union. The NFLPA is clearly run to protect the vested, established, top half of the league players. If a player has less than 3 years service, has a contract less than a certain number (TBD) or is unsigned, but still active he would fall into the separate Union. Those players who were in the NFLPA & become free agents, Remain under the NFLPA. Thus, the “rookies Union,” fo lack of better term, would be focused & fight for the undrafted, the lower drafted players and the majority of the league players. It’s time.

  20. Good unions are both helpful and necessary, especially for a group like the NFL players. The NFLPA is not a good union.

  21. The NFLPA giving advice to rookies is pretty rich given how they let rookies get stuck on these cheapo rookie contracts because they thought they were pulling a fast one on the owners who’d have no choice but to pay more to veterans. Instead, the teams have taken to using as many guys on their rookie deals as possible and in many cases those guys’ careers are effectively over before they’re even eligible for better pay.

  22. Most rookies don’t make it, even highly drafted ones fail.
    I’d 100% show up as a rookie to rookie training camp.

    I can see a veteran being able to train at home (not practice, just train).
    But rookies have no background, and the pros are different from college.

  23. Let me get this straight: for their new job, NFL rookies get free transportation to the team, free room and board, are fed for nothing, free access to team facilities and trainers, free access to medical care, a chance to work with the coaches to familiarize themselves with team systems, and are fully insured for injuries? And the NFLPA objects to this?

  24. The NFLPA needs to rename itself to be more accurate. I’d suggest the NFLAFEV. The NFL Association for Established Veterans. For them to pressure younger players–who are trying to make their dreams come true–to miss valuable training/practice time is malfeasance.

  25. Average career in the NFL is less than 3 years. One player commands 25-40% of the teams annual salary cap. Not much money for undrafted players until they make 4-5 years in the league. and can be an unrestricted free agent. A very small group. I have a friend who now has 8 years in the league and playing for his third team. His annual contract now is for 2 million dollars and non guaranteed. He is not a star but he is fortunate. I don’t make $2,000,000 a year before taxes (in 8 states).

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