In case of lockout, 569 NFL players could feel immediate pinch
In the next 10 days leading up to Super Bowl XLV expect to hear much about a possible NFL lockout. No negotiations are scheduled between the owners and the NFLPA with the current collective bargaining agreement set to expire on March 3.
It’s a very distinct possibility that there could be a lockout. It could be relatively short or it could impact the 2011 season. Of course no one knows for certain. The owners want more of the pie. They’ve also talked about adding two regular season games to bring the total to 18.
Some think the players won’t feel the pinch until September because they get their paychecks during the 17-week season. But that does not include free agent signing bonuses.
On Thursday NFL officials met with 10 NFL writers, including Gregg Rosenthal of ProFootballTalk.com, to explain their side.
Here’s an interesting tidbit, per Rosenthal: “By the league’s estimate, 569 players will be affected in March by a lockout. Of those, 495 players are scheduled to be free agents in 2011, with the assumption that the league goes back to a system where four accrued seasons are needed to become a free agent. That number includes 170 starters and 70 Pro Bowl players.
“It will be the biggest free-agent class ever, and it will have the highest percentage of starters available ever. They also counted 74 players with roster or option bonuses due in March, which have a total of $143.5 million due to those players.’’
In other words 569 players will feel the pinch sooner rather than later.
It’s going to be interesting to see it all unfold. A New York Times profile on Sunday of NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, started out with the words: “We are at war!” That’s how Smith addressed 20 NFL players who had been elected to represent their teammates at the beginning of a recent meeting, according to the Times.
If you’re an NFL fan those are not exactly the words you want to hear before negotiations heat up.
Watch this blog for updates as the process unfolds.
(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)