Joe Linta is an agent who represents 45 NFL players. PFT reported Tuesday that Linta said of the NFLPA leadership, “These guys are driving these players right off a cliff right now.”
Atta baby, Joe! Excellently stated. I would quibble with using the word “right” twice in one sentence, but, hey, who’s quibbling? Oops! Two quibbles in one sentence. I am properly self-quibbled with.
Linta went on to say he would ask owner Dan Rooney to send him a copy of the owners’ current CBA offer, so he could examine it and let his players know whether this offer was in the ball park or “the worst offer in the history of sports,” as blowhard NFLPA leader DeMaurice Smith has described it.
Agents aren’t normally viewed as helpful dudes. Players like them, but just about nobody else does. Agents also take the players’ side in any and all disputes with ownership. So Linta’s remarks are more than a little interesting. If the players aren’t yet in panic mode about lost revenue this year, maybe the agents are beginning to push that button. Needless to say, if D. Smith loses the support of the player agents, he’s toast.
At the very least, maybe the agents are getting a taste of their own medicine. They are usually the guys who stall contract negotiations as long as possible, looking for leverage, and now they are on the other end of the stall.
In the strike years of 1982 and 1987, the money agents were making off the players was peanuts compared to what they are making now. They can be major movers in this CBA battle, and if D. Smith neglected to rally their support for his agenda, he may have made a fatal mistake. If Linta does indeed get a copy of the owners’ proposal, you can bet the other agents are going to want one too.
The fateful June 3rd appellate court hearing will roll into town next Friday, but no decision from the judges will be forthcoming until July. This makes June a rather ominous month. Up to now, the lack of a new CBA and the consequent lockout have been a major fan irritation, but not so much a problem for the players. If the players, and their agents, see no real negotiating effort during June by D. Smith and his band of rogues, there is going to be some definte fearful rumblings bubbling to the surface.
Join the party, NFL players. You may not care what the product on the field come September looks like, as long as you are getting paid, but fans do care. About the product. Not your salaries. Which are pretty much obscenely lucrative, no matter what kind of CBA gets signed.
Rookies – $285,000
One Year Veteran – $360,000
Two Year Veteran – $435,000
Three Year Veteran – $510,000
Four to Six Year Veteran – $595,000
Seven to Nine Year Veteran – $720,000
Ten+ Year Veteran – $820,000
Practice Squad – $85,000
Currently, there are over 250 drafted players, the least of which stand to earn $285,000 as an entry level employee of the NFL. Not too shabby, as employment goes. Not many PhDs going from graduation to that kind of dough, I would surmise, and certainly no semi-skilled brainiacs. If these players have any skill, they will, at the least, receive a $75,000 per year pay increase through the first four years of their employment, putting them at nearly $600,000 per year — for being a bench warmer or special teams player.
While it would be quite enjoyable seeing a revolt occur and D. Smith overthrown as NFLPA leader (tar and feathers optional), it would be much more enjoyable to see a normal NFL season take place. Time is growing short. Somebody better get something done soon.