ASHBURN, Va. -- The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) is now threatening a boycott of the offseason program around the NFL -- for in-person learning and workouts.
President J.C. Tretter is making his union's stance known to players on a conference call and of course now ...it has also conveniently leaked to the media.
Tretter is seeking for the union to rule for the same all-virtual offseason that was in place last year due to COVID concerns.
The problem as we see it: That's a convenient shield. Others won't see through it but those that have been around this block, will.
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First - you don't have to boycott something that is voluntary.
In addition - the best way to get what you want is not by boycotting something that doesn't bring in money for owners.
If you're going to boycott - don't show up for preseason games or the regular season.
The problem here -- The players wouldn't get paid either.
At a glance, it seems that the NFLPA is not pursuing this for COVID concerns. Rather they appear to be doing it due to many players, especially vested veterans, have their own plans throughout the spring and summer, rather than working at their team facilities.
The idea of having to only get 4 months of vacation and freedom per year is galling.
Many players over the years have privately shared thoughts like this so this is the general thinking from what we've heard.
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Workout bonuses really don't matter. As Tom Pelissero points out, only a handful of players out of 2,500 have workout bonuses.
The players even want to skip the lone mandatory session, a minicamp in June, before another summer vacation.
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Organized Team Activities (OTA's) are not designed for a veteran like J.C. Tretter necessarily or someone who has put in five-plus years, let's say, unless there's a new coaching staff and therefore schemes and terminology.
They are more for nonvested veterans -- as a line of demarcation -- who are still trying to find their way in a large ocean of players.
Still, veterans like Ryan Kerrigan, who constantly attended these non-mandatory sessions and every quarterback that I've covered, found it important and beneficial.
With one less preseason game already and the writing on the wall for the preseason to be reduced to two games eventually, regardless of an 18th game or not, players are now using their collective leverage to get the media to put pressure on owners to give them what they want after they voted to accept the 17th game because other issues were more important (money) in the most recent collective bargaining agreement.
What about the young players that are trying to make a roster? Or a practice squad? Or open up the eyes of a new staff or even an old one.
What about the young veterans that are tenuously holding onto a starting spot or even a roster spot and therefore a life-changing salary?
Do we think limited practices in training camp and a reduced preseason schedule are better for their development?
Will players like Jeremy Reaves, Cole Holcomb, James Smith-Williams, Antonio Gandy-Golden, Taylor Heinicke, Kyle Allen (just to name a few) be better at their jobs and therefore able to make more life-changing money by boycotting OTAs just for leverage and a convenient ploy?
No, no, and no.
Players don't want to be at facilities in April, May, and June because they don't get paid to be there. Wave more money in their face and all of a sudden, their stance would change.