NFLPA issues 'work stoppage guide' to players

As collective bargaining agreement negotiations between the NFL and the NFLPA continue to make little progress, the NFLPA has issued a “work stoppage guide” to its players to help them prepare in case of a strike or lockout following the 2020 season.

Sources on both sides continue to insist a work stoppage is unlikely. But the NFLPA has said all along that its mission is to “negotiate for the best while preparing for the worst.” So while the current CBA doesn’t expire until March 2021, the players’ union is trying to make sure its members are prepared in case negotiations go sideways.

Much of the guide, a copy of which was obtained by ESPN, is focused on helping players manage their money in advance of — or in case of — a strike or lockout. The specific suggestions include:

  • Save at least half of each paycheck, if not more. If your current expenses are too high to save this much, you should look at ways to change your spending habits and reduce financial commitments.

  • Try cooking at home instead of eating out as much.

  • Designate one day a week as “no spending day.”

  • Take care of major home repairs now.

  • If you’re in the market for a new home, consider renting instead of buying for now.

  • Find renters for your unoccupied homes or bedrooms.

  • Consider selling a car you have not driven in the past six months.

  • Avoid signing a long-term lease on any rental property that you rarely use.

  • Learn to say “no” — or at least, “not now” — to friends and family asking for money.

  • Consider selling clothes you have not worn in a year on Poshmark, Thredup or Tradesy.

Other parts of the guide address specifics of what the rules might be during a work stoppage, in terms of access to team facilities (none), whether the league would conduct a draft (it did in 2011 while players were locked out) and whether players would still be subject to drug testing during a work stoppage (they don’t know).

Players and owners have conducted a handful of negotiating sessions this summer, and commissioner Roger Goodell has said publicly that the league would like a new CBA in place before the start of the 2019 season. But sources say little progress has been made in talks so far, as the main issue remains the revenue split between players and owners. Currently, the players’ share of all league revenue can’t fall below 47% in a given year, and the players want that figure to go up.

More negotiating sessions between players and owners are tentatively scheduled for next week, sources say, though the key word there is “tentatively.” Talks between staff members for each side have been ongoing, and the two sides figure to decide in the coming days whether there’s likely to be enough progress to warrant formal negotiating sessions next week.

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