NFL Player Salaries Will Be Prorated Under '20 Season Deal
NFLPA reps on Friday voted 29-3 "in favor of the owners' proposal that sets the economic and training camp terms for the 2020 season," and the owners "won on the most important aspect of the negotiation -- ensuring that players only receive prorated salaries this year," according to Ben Volin of the BOSTON GLOBE. Players now will "only get paid for games played" this season. However, owners "will create a fund for players who have fully guaranteed salaries for 2020." If any games are missed, those players "will receive the balance of their guarantee at a later date." Meanwhile, the players "came away with a few key wins." One was their "ability to smooth out the massive hit coming to the salary cap." Another was "getting a two-tiered system for players who want to opt out of the season." The opt-out decision has to be made by Aug. 3 and is "irrevocable, but also comes with a stipend" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/25). In DC, Mark Maske noted the issue of players only receiving prorated salaries for the '20 season had been "considered crucial by the owners to contain their potential costs in an abbreviated season" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/26).
MUCH-NEEDED RELIEF: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Andrew Beaton noted Friday's agreement "aims to spread the impact of that decline over several years, instead of one precipitous decline that would produce drastic effects on America's most popular sport." Executives have said that the league's revenue "could drop by as much" as $4B in '20 (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/25). In N.Y., Ken Belson noted the league earns "about one-quarter" of its $15B in annual revenue from "local sources, including ticket sales, parking, food and beverage sales, luxury boxes and sponsorships." The loss of income from fan-less games "could cost the owners and players several billion dollars, though the precise amount will not be determined until the end of the season" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/25).
TESTING EARLY AND OFTEN: The N.Y. TIMES' Belson noted the NFL "agreed to test the players every day for the first two weeks they are in camp and if the rate of positive tests is below 5 percent, tests will be provided every other day." The NFLPA said that 95 players and staff members "tested positive for the coronavirus during the off-season." Belson wrote the league "expects potentially hundreds of players to test positive when the nearly 2,900 rookies, veterans and free agents travel from across the country to get tested by their teams before they begin training camp" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/25).
IN THE DETAILS: The GLOBE's Volin wrote it "looked like a big win for the NFLPA when word came out that COVID-19 will be considered a 'football injury' this year," but there are "major caveats to this in the fine print." If a player tests positive "during the initial screening of training camp, it will be considered a non-football injury." During the season, if a team "can prove that a player contracted COVID-19 by acting irresponsibly, it can label it a non-football injury and go after a player's salary." The NFL and NFLPA "created a list of high-risk activities, which include things such as going to a crowded bar" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/26). PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio wrote both sides have "come up with a way to ensure that players will "practice personal responsibility in a pandemic." Sources said that the deal "specifically prohibits players from engaging in certain behaviors this season." Players "cannot attend indoor night clubs, indoor bars (except to pickup food), indoor house parties (with 15 or more people), indoor concerts, professional sporting events, or indoor church services that allow attendance above 25 percent of capacity." If players test positive after "engaging in prohibited activities, they will not be paid for the games they miss" (NBCSPORTS.com, 7/25).
POSITIVE MOMENTUM: NBC SPORTS' Peter King wrote there was a "we-can-do-this sense of cooperation you don't often hear" in league and team circles this weekend. Some of that "might come from a clear mandate" from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to "eliminate any public talk of disagreement or complaining about this imperfect training camp and oddball season." King: "Some, but not all." Meanwhile, King writes Goodell and NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith have "had their rocky moments" over the years, but they have "shared an olive brand this year" (NBCSPORTS.com, 7/27).