Roger Goodell at the 2010 NFL Draft
Fox Sports is reporting that the NFL brought department heads together this week and informed them of a 3-tiered plan to cut and/or freeze executive and staff salaries, if a player lock-out occurs next Spring. Given the fact the lock-out would not go into effect until after next April's draft, the first salary and/or staff level adjustment would ostensibly not occur until the last week of April.
If the players are locked out, expect NFL executives' pay to be cut first. The next action would be to institute a short-term furlough which would probably last less than a month. The third tier of the plan reportedly calls for wide-spread pay cuts and/or salary freezes. To-date, there has been no indication that any League employee will lose his or her job, just as there's been no official response by the NFL to the on-going union decertification effort by the players in preparation for a likely lawsuit.
With the League preparing to tighten its belt and the players on the verge of not being paid for all or a portion of next year, you might think the pain will be felt by all. However, the owners are set to receive revenue from the existing television network contracts. Of course, all parties will continue to receive their respective royalties from the sales of NFL-licensed clothes and products. Still, I doubt the general public is going to be in a merchandise spending mood next year if there's no NFL football action on the fields.
In addition to the fans becoming disgusted and the revenue dropping, a lock-out would trigger serious fall-out in the form of legal and contractual ramifications. It already has, as some very notable players are having a very difficult time obtaining long-term contracts.
We'll all get to see how this thing plays out. I personally hope the issues are resolved before next year's draft, as it's hard to believe that the brilliant minds among the owners, the players, and the NFLPA can't come up with a set of terms reasonably satisfactory to all. If they can't by mid-October 2011, the 2012 season may be in jeopardy, as well.