The NFL has sent a new economic proposal to the NFLPA as the two sides continue to negotiate various aspects of how the 2020 season will look amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally, the NFL proposed that 35 percent of player salaries would be held in escrow, which was criticized across the board by players and shut down by the NFLPA. In this latest proposal, the NFL is eliminating the 35 percent of players' salaries being put in escrow but is now suggesting to cut each team's player costs by $40 million in salary cap and/or benefits in 2020, according to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network.
Player leadership, according to Pelissero, is opposed to having the financial ramifications of the pandemic for 2020 hit all in one season, so there is a bit of a tug of war going on between these two sides. That is why the NFLPA recently proposed a flat salary cap of $198.2 million in 2021 and to spread the 2020 revenue loss against the cap over the next decade (2022-30). That would take the economic burden off this specific crop of players, albeit by extending the pandemic's impact over a longer period of time.
If no economic deal is struck, Pelissero notes that a projected multi-billion revenue shortcoming in 2020 would directly hit in 2021 and cause the salary cap to drop by in the range of $50 million to $70 million per club. ESPN's Dan Graziano speculated similar losses on Friday, suggesting the 2021 salary cap could drop by as much as $70 million after seven straight seasons of the cap rising by at least $10 million.
Economics is just one piece of the pie currently being discussed by the NFL and Players Association but is certainly an important one when looking at the longterm health of the league beyond the pandemic. As for actual health-related topics, the NFL did propose potential player opt-outs for the 2020 season entirely, if they do not want to play and risk infection.
As the two sides continue to hammer out all these different outstanding issues, the clock is ticking as players are set to arrive for training camp in just a matter of days.