Source: NFL Wants New CBA Done Before Start Of Season
CBA talks between the NFL and the NFLPA are continuing, and the league has a "clear timetable in mind for getting things resolved," as it "genuinely wants an agreement" by Sept. 1, according to a source cited by Mike Florio of PRO FOOTBALL TALK. The NFL "doesn’t want the CBA negotiations looming over the multi-month 100th season celebration." The league also "wants to take the promise of long-term labor peace and parlay that into new TV deals" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 6/6). The NFLPA recently sent a letter to player agents telling them to start saving money in case of a possible work stoppage, but THE ATHLETIC's Ross Tucker wrote it "seems like a hollow threat." Tucker: "I’d be shocked if the NFLPA allowed the negotiations to get to a point where the players missed any games let alone an entire season." That is a game the NFLPA "can never really win." The owners have "much deeper pockets, significantly more leverage, and time on their side if the labor strife would get to that point." Tucker: "Given how short NFL careers are and how reliant the players are on those game checks I just don’t see them missing any, let alone an entire season’s worth" (THEATHLETIC.com, 6/6).
LESS IS MORE? In Pittsburgh, Gerry Dulac notes Steelers players are "not opposed to shortening the preseason," but their support of the idea "would depend on what would happen to the regular season if the preseason were reduced from four to two games." They "would be in favor of a reduction in preseason games so long as two more games were not added to the regular-season schedule" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 6/7). Also in Pittsburgh, Joe Starkey writes the idea of an 18-game regular season "could be nothing more than a negotiating ploy in advance of serious CBA talks, an item the league could throw out there in bad faith then pull back as a 'concession' to players who claim they want no part of it." However, the owners "might really push for two more games of max revenue." That move "would spit in the face of all the 'player safety' initiatives the league is so proud of." It would "compromise the quality of play in the postseason." The players "should never let this happen" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 6/7).
RISKY BUSINESS: YAHOO SPORTS' Terez Paylor writes after the NFL last month teamed up with the NFLPA for a "Joint Pain Management Committee," it is clear league execs "believe that a decent chunk of players want" a relaxed policy on marijuana use. The NFL’s decision makers are not "oblivious to exploring safer pain-management alternatives, and better wellness and mental health treatment for players," but the players "better protect themselves in case it’s all a big hustle, and there is some evidence to suggest that it is." NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s stance on marijuana use among players has "seemed to change depending on the day." The NFLPA "started its own pain management committee" in '17, one in which it "began looking into marijuana use as a possible treatment." The union also "invited the NFL to be a part of it back then, only for the league to (finally) jump aboard now." Paylor: "What took so long?" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 6/7).