In order to mitigate a potential $4B loss in revenue that could arise if the 2020 NFL season is played without fans, the league submitted a proposal to the union whereby 35% of player salaries would be held in escrow, as Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reports (via Twitter). The union’s response? “Kick rocks,” per NFLPA executive Don Davis (Twitter link via Pelissero).
The union believes that such an escrow agreement must be collectively bargained, and Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic believes the two sides will ultimately agree to a smaller percentage (Twitter link). Kaplan thinks the NFL’s proposal was simply an opening salvo, with the league estimating that the prospective lost revenue will equate to about 35% of the salary cap. Mark Maske of the Washington Post says the escrow proposal could help to avoid a major drop in the 2021 cap, but players are not reacting favorably to the idea thus far (Twitter link).
The union and the league have been arguing over certain safety protocols, the number of preseason games, etc. Now that economics have joined the fray, many have pointed to the protracted battle between Major League Baseball and its union as a harbinger of things to come for the NFL. But to be clear, as Maske tweets, NFL players ultimately would be paid any money that is put into escrow. The only issue — albeit a significant one — is when the money would be paid. Pelissero says the union wants to spread out the damage created by a lost season over the course of the 11-year CBA, and the league wants to do it more quickly (video link).
The league and union have come together on training camp facility protocols, but a lot of work still needs to be done in almost every other aspect of COVID-19 matters, and there is not much time to get these issues resolved.