Why NFL players should start saving now for a potential 2021 lockout

869151356.jpg.0 - Why NFL players should start saving now for a potential 2021 lockout

Retired NFL lineman Geoff Schwartz went through the CBA negotiations and lockout in 2011. Here’s his advice on what to do this time around.

After a contentious labor lockout in 2011, the NFL and the NFLPA agreed on a new collective bargaining agreement that would last 10 seasons. Since that agreement, there has been relative peace between the two sides. But as we near the end of the current CBA, there are warning signs the next round of negotiations in 2021 will be just as heated, as they should be.

I’m in the rare position of having direct knowledge of the previous work stoppage. I was old enough — entering my fourth season — to remember and most importantly, understand it all. I know how we prepared, or didn’t, and how we ended up agreeing to the current CBA. I’ve been a vocal critic of parts of the deal and the hostility between NFLPA leader DeMaurice Smith and the NFL. Mostly, I’d like a better working environment.

We are now nearing the time for a new round of bargaining. Recently, it was reported Smith sent an email to all agents warning them of a potential “work stoppage of at least a year of length.” Details of the entire email can be found here.

This is the first official warning sign that we are headed for a lockout in 2021.

NFL players need to prepare for the worst

This was a necessary announcement, and I hope players start to listen.

The current CBA is outstanding for ownership (that’s not to say players don’t have advantages from it as well), and as I see it, they have the leverage right now. In order for players to get more, the owners need to give more to them, either in the form of dollars, benefits, or possibly more control of player punishment.


— Joe Banner (@JoeBanner13) May 28, 2019

In 2011, the players union withheld dues for years and passed those out during the spring months of the lockout. After those months, no money was coming to us. However, it was reported after the deal was struck that the NFLPA had bought insurance for each player up to $200,000 if there had been a lockout during the season.

We weren’t told about this until after this report. I assume the NFLPA kept it quiet so the NFL wouldn’t know what cards we had. On the other hand, knowing money was coming in might have been helpful.

Hopefully the plan of action for this upcoming labor negotiation is shared fully with the players. I sure hope we don’t have a prolonged work stoppage in 2021 but if we do, I’m happy the NFLPA is starting the process of getting the players ready for the battle ahead.

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