Players Association distributing work stoppage guide

NEW YORK (AP) — A potential lockout or strike is 1 1-2 years away, yet the NFL Players Association is handing out “work stoppage guides to its players.

The guides are being distributed to all 32 teams’ players this week, and features a how-to list of survival should the union and league not reach a collective bargaining agreement in 2021. The current 10-year deal expires in March 2021, and the two sides have had preliminary talks on a number of issues.

Among the tips provided to the players by the union, which was locked out for more than four months in 2011, are to be prepared to be out of work.

“Expiration is Coming, Stay Ready,” the booklet warns.

“It’s important for the veterans to step up and tell those guys who weren’t in the NFL back in 2011 that the business of football is serious, a work stoppage is serious, and the best thing that any of us can do is stay ready,” Giants safety Michael Thomas, an NFLPA vice president, said in the guide.

So the guide suggests such things as:

—build savings;

—modify lifestyles;

—implement a “no spending day” once a week;

—cook more at home, eating out less often;

—cancel unused subscriptions (such as music and video streaming services, gym memberships, shopping apps);

—manage the expectations of friends and family members;

—just say “no.” Don’t let outside requests wreck the budget.

The union also urges players to “get creative with housing costs” by finding renters for their unoccupied homes or bedrooms which “can generate extra income and offset the mortgage for that house.”

The average player salary in the NFL is well over $2 million, but the number is skewed by the monster contracts at the top end, mostly to quarterbacks. There are hundreds of players making far less than that, albeit substantial money. The rookie minimum is close to $500,000, and veteran minimums run from above $700,000 to more than $900,000.

Balancing that: careers are very short, less than three years on average. And players put their bodies on the line daily, in games and practices.

A work stoppage can cut down those careers even more. With that in mind, the guide urges players to begin budgeting, re-examining their housing situations, car, clothing and jewelry expenses.

“Whether you are preparing for a work stoppage or your second career,” the guide says, “you should have a plan in place to manage the financial transition. One good rule of thumb is to follow the ABCs:

Adjust. Budget. Cut.