NFL Union Advises Players to Plan for Work Stoppage of ‘At Least’ a Year

DeMaurice Smith
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

May 28 (UPI) — The NFL Players Association is advising players to plan for a work stoppage of “at least” a year in 2021.

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith sent a letter via email to agents Tuesday. Smith urged players to start saving money ahead of the potential work stoppage, which could occur if the NFLPA and NFL don’t agree on the terms of a new collective bargaining agreement.

The agreement is a pact that includes clarification on how league revenue is used, establishes safety and health standards for players, details how players are paid and more.

Smith wrote that he met with a group of agents who had clients attending the NFLPA’s Rookie Premiere event. The meeting focused on rookies having a savings plan.

“With a possible work stoppage less than two years away, this is the opportune time to set up a structured and organized savings and budgeting plan with your clients,” Smith wrote in the letter, which was obtained by multiple news outlets. “I can’t stress enough the importance of having our player members in a sound financial situation should a work stoppage occur.”

“We are advising players to plan for a work stoppage of at least a year in length. We are also encouraging all players to save 50 percent of their salary and bonuses and to save the entirety of their performance based pay amounts they should earn over the next two regular seasons.

“Having a membership that is financially stable will only increase the chances of NFLPA player leadership getting a new CBA that will benefit not only players currently in the NFL but also the players that come after them and the ones that came before them. Thank you.”

The NFL hasn’t had to cancel games due to a work stoppage since 1987. The current bargaining agreement runs through the 2020 season.

Several players, including the Los Angeles Rams‘ Todd Gurley, have been preparing for a potential work stoppage.

“For right now, we just need to come together and be prepared. You always have to be prepared. We’ll just come together, pull up a couple different ideas and go on from there,” Gurley told Rams Wire last off-season. “You definitely always have to be prepared for certain situations.”

Sources told NFL Network that negotiations between the NFL and NFLPA have been “cordial” and “amicable.” There is also optimism about extending the agreement without having a lockout. The league and union said they are committed to meeting “regularly” in 2019.

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