MSF: Many of our readers are interested in the current status of the lockout, but have neither the time nor the patience to follow every litigious detail currently being reported. In layman’s terms, where do things currently stand between the players and owners, and what is the next key date/decision that fans should be looking toward?
gary glickGary Glick: The next key date is June 3rd when the Federal Court Judge will hear oral arguments from both the NFL and the NFLPA (Players). At that point the Court would have a number of options including making a ruling on that same date.
At this point, there are a number of issues but only a few of them seem to be key; and believe it when I say, we as agents aren’t being kept abreast of many of the developments any better than the general public.
From all we have discussed, it seems that the owners opted out of the current CBA (as they apparently had the right to do) because of what they felt was the unequal split of gross revenues between the players who were getting close to 57% and the owners who were getting approximately 43%. The owners were allowed to take $1 billion off the top before the split and now want $2 billion. The players seemed to convey they were open to a different split of the gross revenues but the owners had to “open up their books” to show that the gross revenues they were talking about really reflected a certain total ($9 billion) and not more. The owners have declined to do so.
There are other issues such as a rookie pay cap and an 18-game season and health benefits, but ultimately it all comes back to the big issue of the money.
MSF: On a scale of 1-100, what do you think are the chances that any regular season football is missed in 2011?
Gary Glick: I think the chances of missing any REGULAR season games is very slim. In fact, I’ll commit and say a 10 out of 100. The fear right now is that we miss training camp and run the risk of our undrafted players passing up other opportunities and then failing to be offered anything when the lockout ends.
MSF: A group that is being overlooked by many people are undrafted free agents, none of whom can sign with teams during the lockout. How are you advising your undrafted clients and do you see any long-term impacts on players or the league because of this long post-draft wait where none of these undrafted players can be signed to fill out rosters?
Gary Glick: For me personally, the undrafted players present a huge challenge because the teams can’t talk to us about them so we can’t get a feel as to whether there is an interest in signing them once the lockout ends. What makes it even a greater challenge is the fact that the CFL and UFL are making offers to these players, which presents a choice: either take the offer on the table from one of these two leagues and be guaranteed a paycheck and a place to play this season or turn down the offer and hope the lockout ends AND a team intends to sign that player.
I represent certain undrafted players I felt were considered Priority Free Agents by teams. Many of these players actually had private workouts during the pre-draft period. We have talked about it, and for now they are awaiting the end of the lockout. We have also decided for certain other players that, as there is no guarantee of an NFL contract even at the end of the lockout, we would sign with a CFL or UFL team.
I see several effects. For one thing, the lockout may well boost the quality of players seen in the UFL and the CFL. These are two very good and somewhat underappreciated leagues. The UFL has NFL-experienced head coaches such as Jim Fassel, Dennis Green, and Marty Schottenheimer, and quality football.
Also, if the lockout drags on too long, it will shorten or eliminate the time when rookies would normally be in training camp learning the system. Likewise, teams with new coaches will have a very limited time teaching their new offenses/defenses to the players (veterans and rookies). I have heard some coaches actually considering cutting down their playbooks.