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Head of NFLPA urging players to be prepared in the event of a long work stoppage

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It’s been nearly eight years since the end of the 2011 lockout effectively led to the league skipping most of the offseason that year. However, even with two more seasons left until the end of the current collective bargaining agreement, the head of the NFLPA is urging players to do what they can in order to be prepared for a prolonged work stoppage.

As noted, DeMaurice Smith, the Executive Director of the NFLPA sent an email out to every registered agent in order to begin the process of urging players to prepare for a potential work stoppage. Specifically, the players should be saving up money in order to be able to go a full season without a paycheck in case the 2021 season does not take place.

This may come across as alarmist and extreme, but just as was seen during the Russell Wilson contract negotiations, it is very possible that this may be little more than posturing. In advance of the expiration of the 2006 CBA the NFLPA also urged players to save money in the event of a work stoppage, so this should come as absolutely no surprise at all to anyone involved. This is the union doing its job to make sure that its members have the financial ability to withstand a work stoppage in case the 2021 season does not take place, whether because of a strike by the players or a lockout from the owners. Even former Seattle Seahawks and now San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman was urging players to save money for a potential 2021 work stoppage two years ago.

So, what to make of the reports of this email? At this time, I’m not going to worry about them. Players saving money in case the 2021 season doesn’t happen is smart, and as long as the two sides are meeting and working towards an agreement, then there’s no reason to get all worked up. Now, if the meetings between the two sides become acrimonious or they stop meeting all together because they can’t get on the same page, that’s when it’s maybe time to start considering worrying. For now, this is one side simply doing its job to prepare, while simultaneously starting the process of posturing that goes into any negotiation.

There are likely to be a good number of doomsday stories and reports in the coming months about the potential of the 2021 season not happening, but at this juncture there’s no point getting too worked up.