NFL’s Jeff Pash: “Hundreds of millions of dollars” in player bonus money at stake without new CBA by March

NFL executive vice president Jeff Pash spoke with media today about the ramifications if there is not a new Collective Bargaining Agreement by March 4.

“There is a set of very real consequences if we don’t have an agreement by early March,” Pash said. “The consequences are both short term and longer term.  In the short term, there are hundreds of players who stand to lose potentially hundreds of millions of dollars if we do not have an agreement by early March and therefore are not able to proceed with the ordinary course of player transactions.”

In 2008 and 2009, there was an average of 325 unrestricted free agents – 165 of whom earned an average of $2 million in signing and/or roster bonuses in March.  In 2011, there will be 495 players with at least four accrued seasons who could be eligible for unrestricted free agency and similar-type bonuses if a new agreement is in place.  In addition, there are 74 players currently under contract who are due to earn more than $140 million in March.

“Beyond that,” Pash continued, “the uncertainty about a labor agreement will have a clear and cumulative effect on our revenues, the biggest share of which goes to players.  As our revenues are affected in a negative way, it obviously makes it harder, not easier, to reach an agreement.  It makes the work stoppage, if one occurs, more costly.  That’s a cost that will complicate and impede the negotiation process.

“Because of those consequences, that is really why you have heard the Commissioner consistently call for an increase and a ramping up in the intensity of these negotiations and the need for more meetings, more frequent meetings, more productive meetings and an on-going, consistent and clear commitment to negotiate and to work as hard as we can to get to an agreement by early March before these consequences begin to materialize.”

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