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Should injury protections of the CBA be expanded to better cover players like Cliff Avril?

Seattle Seahawks v Green Bay Packers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Over the past couple of seasons regular Field Gulls readers have become familiar with the injury protections of Article 45 of the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, which covers injury protection for players. The Seattle Seahawks have seen the importance of this portion of the CBA come up regarding multiple players, including Cliff Avril and Richard Sherman, with differing outcomes in each.

Avril, as has been written about here multiple times, was covered by the injury protection guarantees of the CBA for the 2018 season following the neck injury which ended his playing career. Sherman, on the other hand, ended up signing a new contract with the San Francisco 49ers almost immediately, which eliminated the Article 45 protections put in place when Seattle released him with an injury designation.

Those, obviously were last offseason, though the subject has been covered here recently when I looked at how Brock Coyle’s retirement came to be. Coyle, of course, signed with the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent, and after three years with the Hawks signed as a free agent with the 49ers. Unfortunately for Coyle, a spine injury during the opening weekend of the 2018 season led to the end of his career, and he should be eligible for payment under this portion of the CBA in both 2019 and 2020.

That all said, as teams and fans move forward towards the 2020 season and the end of the current CBA, there have been several topics that have come up regarding items the players could ask for from owners in the next round of negotiations. One noted observer has specifically pointed out the Article 45 injury protections as something worth bringing up in the next round of negotiations. That observer is Jason Fitzgerald, the founder of and author of Crunching Numbers, who wrote an article about changes to Article 45 he believes the players could, and should, ask for at the negotiating table.

I won’t steal his thunder by simply copying the suggestions he makes about what he believes the players need to ask for, so take a couple of minutes and read his piece. It’s a quick, yet educational read, and fans who enjoy it can take a few minutes to cover the other items he has penned regarding what the players may ask for at the negotiating table.

For those who took the time to read the article, here are a couple of quick questions I have regarding your thoughts on subjects Fitzgerald covers.


Should players have automatic injury protection for seasons for which they were never under contract? If so, how many years should they be covered?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    (40 votes)
  • 24%
    Yes - 1 season of coverage
    (56 votes)
  • 21%
    Yes - 2 seasons of coverage
    (49 votes)
  • 7%
    Yes - 3 seasons of coverage
    (17 votes)
  • 28%
    Yes - 4 or more seasons of coverage
    (63 votes)
225 votes total Vote Now


What should be the maximum amount for which players have automatic injury protections in their contracts?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    $1.2M (current level for 2019 and 2020 seasons)
    (55 votes)
  • 19%
    $1.21M - $2.0M
    (40 votes)
  • 15%
    $2.01M - $3.0M
    (32 votes)
  • 7%
    $3.01M - $4.0M
    (15 votes)
  • 31%
    $4M or more
    (65 votes)
207 votes total Vote Now