The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: The NFLPA will ultimately approve the current Collective Bargaining Agreement proposal that is on the table.
Explanation: We probably won’t know for a couple of weeks yet what the outcome will be, but we do know that we are now approaching the finish line. The CBA proposal is already at the voting stage, where the NFLPA members will either approve or disapprove it. If they fail to approve it, the 2020 season will be played under the rules of the current CBA, and the stipulations that go along with it.
While the NFLPA representatives only passed the proposal on to the full union body by the near-slimmest of margins, the fact remains that even this likely would not have happened if the majority did not believe the deal would be approved.
The average NFL player makes a salary far below the millions of dollars of those whose voices have been most vocal. Some of the highest-paid players in the NFL like Russell Wilson have come out strong against the CBA, but the concerns of players like these are quite different from those just hoping to make a roster and last for a couple of years as a special teamer.
Remember, this CBA proposal will ultimately also add six jobs per team, which is 192 in all. Rosters will be expanded to 55 and the practice squad will ultimately balloon to 14. That’s nearly hundreds of more jobs for the several hundred players hoping to earn a paycheck for playing football. They would love to have a shot at playing 17 games.
It’s hard to ignore all of the many prominent voices that have been very outspoken about their dissatisfaction with the CBA. While some are hardline opponents, with the 17-game season being a non-starter, such as Richard Sherman and Aaron Rodgers, others have been more open but have found the deal the NFL has offered to be unacceptable.
It’s true that the ‘rank and file’, for lack of a better term, will have more at stake to vote in favor of the deal—it does raise minimum salaries, and it would avoid any potential labor strife in 2021 and beyond for the next decade—these are influential voices.
And the fact of the matter is that there is still a year before a new CBA has to be in place. The current one runs through the start of the league year of 2021. The NFL still has more cards it hasn’t been asked to show yet, and the players are savvy enough to know that they’ll never see them if they fold so early, more than a year in advance.