JC Tretter says OTA boycott is not about protecting veteran rosters
As the NFL and NFL Players Association continue their peacetime dispute over off-season training in the second year of a pandemic, union president JC Tretter has been asked to respond to one of the common explanations for veterans not wanting anyone to get reps during the offseason.
Appearing on The Rich Eisen Show, Tretter responded to Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians’ opinion that veteran players prefer not to train out of season (“[t]Veterans love it, ”Arians said of a world without off-season training on the pitch) because they give young players a chance to develop – and in turn threaten the jobs of veteran players. Tretter disagreed.
“My job and our job is to know what our players wantTretter told Eisen. “And that’s what our players want. And we’ve surveyed our players, and the vast majority of our players think the virtual offseason is the best for this year. And it wasn’t just the veterans saying that. Just as many young guys, just as many guys with one year of experience, two years of experience, three years of experience responded by saying that they think the virtual offseason is the best thing for them this year than the older guys did. So it’s a story that simply has no factors and no evidence. It’s just used to try to divide the union. But we know what we want. We have players talking and we as the union are responsible for representing what all the players want, and that is what we are doing.
Without knowing more about the survey (for example, how the question was worded, how many players responded, how many did not respond and whether young players who do not want an off-season program have job security), it is impossible to fully examine these comments and / or to determine the reliability of the results. Either way, the idea that the Arians or whoever is trying to divide the union misses the point. The union is necessarily divided; its aim should be to avoid taking positions that highlight these divisions.
The workforce is not homogeneous. The off-season roster of 90 is inevitably reduced to 53. Each of the 90 wants to be one of the 53.
Older and more expensive players necessarily have to worry about younger, cheaper players, especially in a year when the salary cap is more than $ 25 million lower than it would have been without the pandemic. The more likely the younger and cheaper players are to develop, the more some of them will be chosen for the bottom 53, compared to some of the older and more expensive players.
Indeed, Tretter has not advocated any in-person offseason schedule, regardless of the pandemic. And since the leadership of the NFLPA typically consists of veteran players, the natural desire to protect their roster will influence their positions on policy and rules.
This is inevitable, given the diversity of interests and realities of these union members. For some players (especially those with practice bonuses and those who would be less likely to drop from 90 to 53 with fewer reps), it is important to attend. For all players who would otherwise train, showing up at the squad premises offers a layer of confidence that not training elsewhere – as the league pointed out last night.
The problem for veteran players is that, if they don’t show up collectively, the younger players are even more likely to prove that they are good enough to take on the jobs of the guys who are not there. For this reason, some of these young players are no doubt hoping that the veterans will show real solidarity and stay away, so that the younger players can essentially stage a coup.
That’s the NFLPA’s problem. Despite the existence of a larger fraternity, the rush for regular-season jobs is becoming an every-man’s proposition. For the same reason that players will not give up play checks via an in-season work stoppage, players will not give up their chance at play checks via an off-season boycott.
So either the boycott will collapse or the NFL will see an influx of younger, cheaper talent in 2021, and some of the veterans who stood side by side from April to June could be sitting shoulder to shoulder from September to January, on a sofa. somewhere.