One of the 14 members of the NFLPA’s selection committee responsible for re-electing executive director DeMaurice Smith, Dolphins long snapper John Denney said the No. 1 issue among his constituents — as the team’s union rep — is guaranteed money. The contracts annually doled out to NBA and MLB talents, in leagues with fewer players, include far more guarantees than NFLers’ deals. That issue eclipsed personal conduct complaints, Denney said (via Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald).
“You can’t have it all, so what’s at the top of the list?” Denney said, via Beasley, in an apparent defense of Smith’s handling of the 2011 CBA — one that granted Roger Goodell with the controversial disciplinary powers he holds. “It really does boil down to money. It does affect some guys, but it’s a very few amount of guys. The union has to make decisions for all of the current players. You’ve got 1,500, 1,600 players. How many of those players are dealing with off the field issues? You’re going to tell these 1,600 players, ‘Are you willing to give us this money so eight or nine players a year won’t have to deal with the things they’re dealing with? You still want to go to bat for your guys, but you’ve got to make decisions on what’s best for the group.”
Here’s the latest from around the league going into this season’s Sunday of action.
- Conversely, SI.com’s Robert Klemko argues the NFL’s product has suffered because of the Smith-negotiated CBA. Early-season football — particularly line play — has been scrutinized for years, and a lack of practice time when compared to past generations is an obvious culprit. The players received a key concession in that department, but aesthetically, the game hasn’t improved. Additionally, the revamped rookie wage scale — while opening the door to more extension and free agency opportunities for veterans — has also led to teams carrying more young, and thus lesser-prepared, talent. Klemko notes the middle-class contract has become endangered, with Smith overcorrecting for the previous era of exorbitant rookie deals. The result has allowed teams to stockpile rookie contracts, saving money but also lowering the quality-of-play floor.
- IR remains a possibility for 49ers defensive lineman Tank Carradine, but Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (on Twitter) he received a shorter return timetable than expected. The starting defensive end will be out between four and six weeks with a high ankle sprain, with Rapoport adding the 49ers may elect to keep him on the active roster rather than shuttle him to IR. An IR trip would shelve Carradine for eight weeks.
- Trevor Siemian has picked up plenty of Peyton Manning‘s work-ethic habits, Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post reveals in an expansive story. Citing Siemian’s early-morning facility arrival, Jhabvala writes the Broncos current starting quarterback’s taken to many of his predecessor’s revered preparation methods. The second-year starter also underwent left shoulder surgery after playing on a separated clavicle for three months last season, per Jhabvala. Siemian is tied for the NFL lead with six touchdown passes going into Week 3.
- Jason Verrett‘s latest injury elevates the Chargers‘ near-future cornerback need, Eric Williams of ESPN.com writes. While a Pro Bowl talent, Verrett — placed on IR today due to a forthcoming knee surgery — has been unable to stay on the field. At the conclusion of this season, the 2014 first-round pick will have played in only 25 of 64 possible games. He’s under contract for next season, via the fifth-year option, and Williams doesn’t expect GM Tom Telesco to use the same strategy he did with D.J. Fluker (cutting him before the option became guaranteed). But Williams notes Verrett’s lack of dependability will make it difficult to sign the 2014 first-round pick to an extension. For now, 2016 UDFA Trevor Williams will start alongside Casey Hayward.