The NFL Players Association has sent a counterproposal to the NFL leading up to a call scheduled for Monday that is poised to address a number of outstanding issues including testing protocols and compensation, according to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network. Earlier last week, the NFL proposed 35% of player salaries to be held in escrow to help cushion the financial blow the league is anticipating in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
That was met with tremendous criticism among players, and the latest counterproposal by the NFLPA suggests that no percentage of 2020 salaries is held in escrow. Instead, the NFLPA proposed a flat salary cap of $198.2 million in 2021 and to spread the 2020 revenue loss against the cap over the next decade (2022-30). This is all an attempt by the NFL and NFLPA to avoid a drastic drop in the salary cap for 2021. Under this latest counterproposal by the NFLPA, players wouldn’t be burdened with the entire financial loss in one year and instead would cushion the blow over a longer timeframe.
The Players Association also campaigned for all fully guaranteed money to be paid even if games are canceled and the implementation of a “COVID-19 risk stipend” of up to $500,000 if games are canceled. Pelissero notes that the exact figure on that stipend would depend on when cancellation occurs along with other factors.
Payment for the players is just one of a number of topics that the NFL and NFLPA will need to hammer out on Monday’s call. Earlier last week, the NFLPA sent a memo to the league with recommended approaches for how to handle training camp, including trimming rosters down to 80 players, daily testing for Tier 1 and Tier 2 individuals, and limited fan attendance (maximum two events).
With players set to report in just a few weeks, it’ll be imperative for both sides to come together with a clear plan sooner rather than later to avoid hiccups and potentially put players and the league at risk of financial and medical problems.