While we await word on the ultimate state of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, we will continue to learn and explore what the proposal on the table that the NFLPA will soon be voting on contains. The major concession that the players are being asked to make is to play a 17th regular season game, but that’s not the only thing the league is taking from them.
Another notable gain by teams is a series of several steps that would make it much more costly—literally and figuratively—for players to hold out during training camp. Mike Florio lays out the details of that in an article for Pro Football Talk.
For starters, as stipulated in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams are allowed to fine a player up to $40,000 per day for every day that a player skips training camp. Holdouts typically take place during contract disputes, and it’s often that a team will wipe out the fines incurred once the player reports, either after resolving the contract issue or for whatever reason may persist.
Under the new CBA, the fines will become mandatory for any player beyond their rookie contract, and not optional. In addition to that, the amount of the fine is said to be “substantially increased”. What is a substantial increase from $40,000, which is already quite a bit?
Yet another disincentive to skip training camp for players would be the league’s ability to strip players of an accrued season if they fail to show up for training camp on time or if they leave for more than five days. This is a huge difference from the rule currently on the table, which only requires that a player under contract show up within 30 days of the team’s first game.
The general tone of the conversation over the collective bargaining agreement has been one of a 17th game versus player benefits, but it’s not, and never is, that simple. 17 games in the regular season is not the only thing that the owners are getting back.
One of the most frustrating things for teams is when one of their players, typically star players, exercises their rights to express their displeasure with their current contract, believing that they are entitled to more than they are getting. Clubs can express their displeasure with the contracts that they give out by releasing the player.
Players can choose to withhold their services, but then they don’t get paid. And now the owners are being given even more tools to try to force players into compliance when they have a dispute over their compensation.