More than $2 billion has been spent by NBA teams since the free agency period opened up on July 1. And while Richard Sherman hopes NFL players will see those types of payouts in the future, he believes it will take one drastic measure to try and make it happen.
“If we want as the NFL, as a union, to get anything done, players have to be willing to strike,” said Sherman when asked by ESPN’s Jalen Rose if NFL players needed to go on strike to get deals similar to what NBA players received this offseason. “That’s the thing that guys need to 100 percent realize. You’re going to have to miss games, you’re going to have to lose some money if you’re willing to make the point, because that’s how MLB and NBA got it done. They missed games, they struck, they flexed every bit of power they had, and it was awesome. It worked out for them.”
Sherman, a Pro Bowl cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks, is one of the league’s most outspoken players. He also believes players should re-think how the contracts they sign are structured. Sherman points out basketball stars such as Kevin Durant and LeBron James are willing to take short-term deals in order to maximize their earnings by re-entering free agency as the salary cap continues to rise.
As we’ve explained, NFL contracts are tricky and far from fully guaranteed. Mike Glennon’s deal with the Bears is a perfect example. On the surface, he signed a three-year pact worth $45 million. It’s a big number with several years attached. However, only $18.5 million is guaranteed, and the team could be out from under the deal after just one season. So much for the other $26.5 million.
Sherman is the latest NFL standout to speak out on this topic. Free agent defensive tackle Terrance Knighton recently shared a few tweets in the wake of the NBA’s summer spending spree, highlighted by this:
NFL makes billions a year. Time to get back to that negotiation table. And this time we need to stay strong and not budge. Make em Pay!!!
— Terrance Knighton (@MisterRoast98) July 8, 2017
Unfortunately, players seeking bigger paychecks might have to wait until 2020 when the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement expires. That is unless, of course, they heed Sherman’s suggestion and strike before the deal runs out.
It would be quite the risk for players to make such a bold stance, but the NFL is a cash cow that is turning out major profits annually. According to Bloomberg, the league split $7.8 billion (with a ‘B’) in revenue in 2016, while Daniel Kaplan of Sports Business Journal reported in March that the NFL is expected to take in $14 billion in revenue in 2017. And back in 2010, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio wrote that commissioner Roger Goodell was hoping the NFL would earn $25 billion in revenue.
With that in mind, you can see why players such as Sherman would want a bigger slice of the action.