As the NFL’s current labor deal sprints toward its expiration date, the NFL Players Association is advising players to cook dinner at home, cancel unused gym memberships and take other financial steps to prepare for a possible interruption to their careers.
In a “work stoppage guide” issued this week, the NFLPA breaks down key information for players on several fronts, including money management, contract negotiations and media responsibilities. The section entitled “your money” advises players to “follow the ABCs”: adjust, budget and cut.
To cut back on their living expenses, the NFLPA also suggests that players implement one “no spending day” per week, delay new entrepreneurial business ventures and hold off on major purchases of houses, cars, clothing or jewelry. The union also says that players should “save at least half of each check, if not more” between now and when the current collective-bargaining agreement expires after the 2020 season.
Other advice for players includes paying off outstanding debts other than their mortgages, re-examining investments with a high risk factor, selling unused items like cars and clothes and learning to say “no” to friends and family members who ask for cash. The guide also advises players on what to say to the media during a potential work stoppage.
ESPN was first to report on the work stoppage guide.
While NFL executives and players union representatives have held preliminary talks on a new collective-bargaining agreement, early progress has been slow. The current deal expires in March 2021. The revenue split between owners and players and the structure of player contracts are expected to be major issues as negotiations proceed.
The NFL last experienced a lockout in 2011, when owners barred players from team facilities for several months when negotiations stalled. The two sides later reached an agreement without any interruption to the 2011 season. NFL players haven’t gone on strike since 1987.
While it’s too early to say if negotiations will lead to a new deal in the near future, the NFLPA warned players in a letter in May to “plan for a work stoppage of at least a year in length.”