The NFL, in reality, is facing another nightmare scenario.

In 2011, the league locked horns with the NFLPA over the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the dispute led to a work stoppage that lasted just over 18 weeks and threatened the coming season. It was ultimately resolved in July of that year but, with league operations shut down, there was no free agency, OTAs, minicamp and the like -- along with players being unable to communicate with coaches or seek assistance from medical staffs around the league. The CBA took hold that summer with a 10-year shelf life, and as the two sides have already had preliminary talks in hopes of ratifying a new agreement prior to the March 2021 expiration of the current one.

And just in case things don't go as planned, the players' union has reportedly distributed a "work stoppage guide" -- per Dan Graziano of ESPN -- ensuring players are prepared in the event of another lockout. DeMaurice Smith, who is currently serving another term as executive director of the NFLPA, also sent an email warning in May that warned of the possibility of a lockout that could last at least a year.

Here are the talking points in the latest NFLPA communication, via ESPN:

  • Save at least half of each paycheck, if not more. If your current expenses are too high to save this much, you should look at ways to change your spending habits and reduce financial commitments.

  • Try cooking at home instead of eating out as much.

  • Designate one day a week as "no spending day."

  • Take care of major home repairs now.

  • If you're in the market for a new home, consider renting instead of buying for now.

  • Find renters for your unoccupied homes or bedrooms.

  • Consider selling a car you have not driven in the past six months.

  • Avoid signing a long-term lease on any rental property that you rarely use.

  • Learn to say "no" -- or at least, "not now" -- to friends and family asking for money.

  • Consider selling clothes you have not worn in a year on Poshmark, Thredup or Tradesy.

While some view this all as leveraging from Smith, history shows he's willing to force the issue in CBA negotiations. With several key points of contention between both sides this time around -- some familiar, some fairly new -- the reality is talks could go dark quickly, although they are seemingly progressing at the moment. From preseason and regular season length, to salary structure and health benefits, and a whole lot more -- there's a lot to hash out before March 2021. This explains why the NFL isn't waiting until the witching hour to start meeting with the NFLPA to start hammering out some wrinkles, but a new CBA isn't imminent just yet.

For now, it's smooth sailing, but players are now warned -- yet again -- to be ready in the event the waters start to mirror an episode of "Deadliest Catch".