New CBA rules forcing veterans to play offseason waiting gameApril 8, 2014 2:04 PM EDTBy Ross Tucker Sporting News RSSMonday marked the beginning of offseason workouts for teams with new coaches in the National Football League, while those with a returning head man will have to wait another two weeks before they can finally report to their team facilities on April 21. At least a month later than they should be in both cases if you ask me.So often, in life in general and in the NFL in particular, we talk about a transaction or decision being a "win-win," meaning both parties involved are benefiting and getting something out of the deal. The recent trade of troubled wide receiver Mike Williams from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the Buffalo Bills appears to be an example of that. The Bills wanted an explosive receiver for quarterback EJ Manuel and they only had to give up a sixth-round pick and pay Williams $1.8 million for the 2014 season in order to get him. The Bucs just wanted the troubled receiver out of their building and were happy to get something—anything—in return. That's the way it should be with most, if not all, trades and negotiations. Both sides should feel at least pretty good about it. Otherwise, they shouldn't do it, right? How about the opposite—a "lose-lose" scenario? You don't see that very often in the NFL, but that's exactly what the delayed start of the offseason program is for both the teams and players. Prior to the new CBA being signed in 2011, the offseason program would start in mid-March. Even that felt too late to me during my playing days. By the beginning of March, after two months at home working out on my own, I was eager to get back. I wanted to be back around my teammates because no matter what anybody tells you about the work they put in on their own, you are almost always going to work out harder and better when you are doing it with the guys you are going to be competing with, and in some cases against, that season. Plus, you are under the strength coach's guidance and you have clearly defined goals and expectations every day in the program they have put together for you. It's just better. There are also the ancillary benefits of being back at the team's facility that I always looked forward to. The team provides you with a free and healthy breakfast in the morning. After your workout, for which you get paid $175 a day I might add, you can continue to take care of your body using the team's many amenities like the cold tub, hot tub, and steam room. After that you could spend some time reviewing video of the previous season or upcoming opponents. You know, be a professional and put some extra time and effort into your job. Then you can grab another free and healthy meal at lunch and get on with your day. Heck, I would wrap up something at lunch and take it home for dinner. Did I mention the meals were good, free and healthy? Lest you think this is simply the player's perspective, allow Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh to expound upon my point of view: "Players want to go see their position coach. They want to learn football. It’s their craft. And we’re saying, ‘No, you can’t do it?’ Why? Because of the Collective Bargaining Agreement that makes no sense? Because somebody wanted to get their little win here vs. their little win over there? Get together and do what’s best for these players, and it’s about time that somebody stepped to the plate and realized that and [took] the politics out of it.”The problem is that evidently, not every player feels or felt the same way that I do. Especially those who are far along in their careers and have established themselves and built a healthy nest egg for their families. "I think the later you can go back the better," former Bucs and Colts defensive tackle Booger McFarland told me, saying, "When it started in March, it felt even more like a full-time job. The older you are, the less you need to get back there. If I was still playing now, I'd like not having to come back until late April." I can understand that. There are a lot of people who would like to make the same money at their job while putting forth less effort and having a smaller time commitment. That’s how I feel about the new rules for training camp set forth in the 2011 CBA that greatly limit the amount of contact and on-field activities during August. The difference is training camp is mandatory. The offseason program is voluntary, meaning that even if it starts earlier and guys like me choose to attend, the veterans like McFarland who don't want to don't have to. They’ve never had to and plenty chose not to when I was in Buffalo, as an example. The problem with that is that even if it is supposedly voluntary, there is still pressure on players to attend if they want to stay in good graces with the coaching staff. But why should players who want to improve, want to get better, and want to spend time watching video and reviewing the playbook with coaches in the team's facility be banned from doing so because certain veterans don't like the fact that they would feel some pressure to attend their team's voluntary workouts? They shouldn't. Not only does it limit the veterans like me who would have preferred to report to the team earlier, but it also stunts the growth of young players who could really use that time to take the next step in their career. That's why Harbaugh's right about the NFL and NFLPA needing to come together and fix the new offseason rules. I'm adamantly opposed to any rules that inhibit anybody from furthering themselves or their career and that's exactly what these new CBA offseason rules do and why they need to change
Ross is right, at least the CBA should be amended so that the younger players should be able to attend earlier and get more private instruction one on one with the coaching staff or if the vets have a problem with the younger players access to the coaches, at least allow the younger players to have early access to the strength and conditioning coaches. I really hate that the new CBA has taken a lot of interest away from the fans during the off season.Wouldn't be at all surprised to find out that the increase of injuries is due to the shortened off season as well.
CBA is full of ridiculous nonsense that is hurting the game. These guys basically can’t do anything but play patty cake in their underwear…..and they can’t even do that very often. Yet we expect to have a great product on Sundays. SMH. Hopefully they amend the CBA at some point. Lots of stupid in there.
Viewing 2 reply threads
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
PewterReport.com prides itself on being the most complete, comprehensive news source covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and delivering inside scoop on the team found nowhere else.