According to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the anti-trust lawsuit currently being pursued by the players union threatens the very fabric of the game. This morning he detailed the potential outcomes of a union victory in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed piece.
Basically, by dissolving their union and bringing an anti trust suit against the NFL, he says the union has attacked the entire collective bargaining process and everything that comes with it. That includes the draft, salary cap, salary floor, revenue sharing… everything that makes the NFL as competitive as it is. Goodell says the plan would “benefit some star players and their agents” but "virtually everyone else—including the vast majority of players as well as the fans—would suffer. "
By suing to prevent the NFL from collectively bargaining, Goodell says the players are attempting to rid the game of the following things.
The Draft - There would be no draft, players would enter the league as free agents and auction themselves off to the highest bidder. Clearly this is something agents would love to get rid of. In fact, Goodell quotes one agent, Brian Ayrault, as saying “Why should there even be a draft? Players should be able to choose who they work for. Markets should determine the value of all contracts. Competitive balance is a fallacy.” If you want to see Ayrault's full argument against the draft, you can find that here.
No Salary Cap/Floor/Minimum ect - Any team can spend as little or as much as it wants. Big market teams get all the top talent and small market teams get none, plus they don’t even have the draft to restock talent. Players could also be paid as little or as much as they can get. There would be no more “veteran minimum.”
No league wide rules on virtually anything – Each team would get to decide how much or how little they practice. There would be no league wide benefits, teams will decide what if any benefits they want to give to players. There would be no league wide drug testing. Teams can either test or not depending on their preference.
Now, the players would likely say that they have filed this antitrust suit to gain leverage in a collective bargaining negotiation. They’ll say they still want a collectively bargained deal. However, you do have to wonder if they win this lawsuit, whether they may reconsider. With their agents likely 100% behind killing off the current system, they’ll start getting a lot of advice that maybe this really is the way it will go.
It’s a scary thought for sure.