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Seahawks’ Richard Sherman suggests strike would help NFL player salaries

Outspoken Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman not only has congratulated the baseball and basketball player unions for their successess, he says the NFLPA should consider a strike to get similar contracts for its members. (Stephen Brashear / Associated Press)
Outspoken Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman not only has congratulated the baseball and basketball player unions for their successess, he says the NFLPA should consider a strike to get similar contracts for its members. (Stephen Brashear / Associated Press)

Count Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman as the latest NFL player to raise an eyebrow at some of the contracts being handed out to NBA players and say that football players might need to strike to get compensated similarly.

“If we want as the NFL, as a union, to get anything done, players have to be willing to strike,” Sherman said during an interview before attending the ESPYs Wednesday night.

“That’s the thing that guys need to 100 percent realize. You’re going to have to miss games, you’re going to have to lose some money if you’re willing to make the point, because that’s how MLB and NBA got it done. They missed games, they struck, they flexed every bit of power they had, and it was awesome. It worked out for them.”

The comments drew an interesting reaction on Twitter from the NFLPA (National Football League Players Association), which responded, “What he said.”

Sherman is the Seahawks’ NFLPA player representative.

Any striking wouldn’t realistically be done until after the 2020 season, when the league’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA) expires. Players could then fight for a greater share of the league’s revenue and guaranteed contracts.

It’s become something of a rite of summer for NFL players to take to social media to note the differences in their salaries compared to those in the NBA when the NBA goes through its annual July free-agent signing frenzy.

SBNation had a breakdown of the issue last year. There are some issues that make it hard to make apples-to-apples comparisons – notably, the difference in roster size (NFL teams have 53 on an active roster and NBA teams have 13). Also, the injury rate has long been used by the league as a reason for not guaranteeing most contracts (unlike in the NBA and MLB, where all contracts are guaranteed).

The general consensus is that the owners got the better of the deal when the players and the league agreed to a new CBA in 2011 (NFL players essentially get 47 percent of league revenues during the current CBA).

Sherman also said NFL players might need to follow the model of some NBA players in taking shorter contracts.

“NBA players like KD (Kevin Durant) and LeBron (James) are sitting there taking two-year deals like it’s nothing,” Sherman said. “They figure, ‘I’ll take a two-year deal because I’m going to wait for the salary cap to increase and get another bite at the apple.’ In our sport, they won’t do it.”

Some might argue that injury considerations play greatly into why most NFL players tend to take the most secure contract they can when they finally have a chance to sign a new deal after a few years in the league.

But one player who did willingly take a shorter contract so that he could hit free agency again more quickly? None other than Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, who signed a four-year deal instead of five in 2015 so that he can become a free agent after the 2019 season when he will be 31 years old.


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