How an NFL cancellation could affect players' salaries


Because the NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement doesn’t include a so-called force majeure clause — a clause eliminating liability in the event of unforeseeable circumstances — the league is now proposing a series of drastic pay cuts for players if the season winds up shortened or completely canceled, according to Pro Football Talk.

Any changes to the recently agreed-upon CBA have to be collectively bargained, so if the NFLPA and NFL can't agree to a new salary structure, the players would be paid their full base salary for the season as long as one game is played.

That would obviously hurt the league. But every week of regular-season football that's played would bring the NFL about $258 million in TV revenue. So there's a lot to consider here.

The current rules also do not provide any payments to the players other than a small daily training camp stipend in the event the season is canceled before opening day.

This is one of numerous contractual elements the NFL and NFLPA are currently negotiating just days before training camps are scheduled to open.

Here are some of the details of the NFL's salary proposal to the union, as reported by PFT’s Mike Florio:

• Under terms of the NFL's proposal, players would keep all bonus money that’s been earned during the offseason, no matter what happens. Players would also keep any bonuses earned during any portion of the season that is played. So if a player gets a $10,000 bonus for every game he’s in uniform, and he dresses for three games before the season is canceled, he keeps that $30,000.

• If the NFL cancels the season before players report to training camp — which as of now is in the next week — they would not receive any money other than those bonuses if their contract calls for them.

• If the season is canceled between the start of training camp and final roster cuts, currently scheduled for Sept. 5, every player in camp who received a year of pension credit in 2019 (generally being on the roster for four weeks) or who was drafted in April would get $250,000 minus any bonus money already earned.

• In the event the season is canceled between final cuts on Sept. 5 and opening day a few days later, all players on the 53 or IR would get that $250,000 and those on the practice squad would get $100,000. Again, any bonus money already earned would be deducted from that amount. 

• If the league cancels the season after it starts, players would get the $250,000 (or $100,000 for practice squad players) minus any money they’ve already earned. So if a player has a $1 million base salary and the season is canceled after three weeks, he will have earned $176,470 and would receive an additional $73,530 under this proposal.

• Players would earn in-season incentives pro-rated based on the number of games the league plays before the season is canceled, but only if at least eight games are played. So if you're due a $1 million bonus for 10 touchdowns and you have five touchdowns after eight games, you get $500,000.

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