Can the NFL avoid a lockout in 2020?


There has been labor peace in the NFL between the players and owners since 2011. The last lockout caused the cancellation of the Hall of Fame game, but no games during the regular season were canceled.

The players feel that they got the short end of the stick the last time around when it came to revenue sharing. That will be one of the main sticking points for these negotiations that have already started for the NFLPA and the NFL.

All work stoppages and negotiations usually center around money and the NFL and the NFLPA is no different.


In the last contract the players agreed to a 47-53 split with the NFL on revenue sharing. The players got a 55-45 split on all media revenue.

The revenue sharing agreement will be closer to 50-50 this time as the NFL continues to make money hand over fist and the players will demand their fair share.


The rookie wage scale is another area that the NFLPA will want a better agreement on. The old agreement that was in effect paid rookies like superstars before they had even played one down of football.

That changed in 2011 when the wage scale was implemented. In 2010, Sam Bradford, the number one pick, signed a six-year, $78 million contract. In 2018, Baker Mayfield, the number one pick, signed a four-year, $32 million contract.

The new rookie wage scale may limit the contracts to three years, plus a club option for a fourth year. The players may also get the right to re-negotiate their rookie contract after the second year.

The franchise tag is another contract issue that may go away, because the players feel that is is capping the amount of money that the highest paid players at a respective position can earn.


There are also some non monetary issues that the players are concerned about.

The personal conduct policy right now is a joke. And that falls at the feet of Roger Goodell.

RELATED: Did the NFLPA tip the balance of power back to NFL owners?

The NFL has to get some guidelines in place in conjunction with the NFLPA on how to deal with situations like the Tyreek Hill situation. There needs to be a policy in place that deals with these situations immediately. And how about not taking months to complete the investigation.

The substance abuse policy will need to be updated as well. The use of marijuana will be a major issue in the  new collective bargaining agreement. There are more and more players that want to use marijuana in some form to help with pain and the healing process for their injuries.

An 18-game schedule is going to get a long, hard look, too. Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, is a huge backer of the 18-game schedule.

If the league adopted this type of schedule, the NFLPA would demand some concessions.

Reducing the preseason to two games would be an option. This works in theory, but for the bottom third of the roster it would be brutal. The fourth pre-season game is devoted exclusively to taking at look at those rookies and free agents that are trying to make the team.

Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians has gone on the record as not being in favor of the 18-game season due to that very reason.

Players may demand another bye week, too. The potential for injury would be greater, so another bye week could be negotiated.

Also: roster expansion. Right now, the rosters are set at 46 on game-day with seven inactive players. But, with the extra game, those rosters could be expanded to 53 while still having a practice squad.

Talks have already started and so far everything seems to be on schedule. Neither the NFL nor the players can afford a lockout.

DeMaurice Smith, the head of the NFLPA, emailed all of the agents last week and told them to advise their players to start saving money and prepare for a work stoppage of up to one year.

The issues are many and there is a lot of things to work through. But at the end of the day cooler heads should prevail preventing a work stoppage.



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