Posted by Josh Katzowitz
Maybe some of the NFL’s biggest – and most marketable – players won’t have to get part-time jobs if they’re locked out after all.
Fanhouse’s Dan Graziano pens an interesting piece about how the NFL Players Association is talking to corporate sponsors about individual contingency deals in which a player could sell his own rights to a national company.
Assuming the CBA expires March 3, Graziano writes, the current agreement between sponsors like Gatorade, Verizon and Pepsi to use players in national advertising campaigns would expire as well.
"If the NFL locks out the players, the sponsors get locked out of player rights," Keith Gordon, the president of NFL Players Inc., told Fanhouse. "We've been communicating with sponsors since the summer, and our primary objective is to shield them from being put in the middle between the NFL and the players. At this point, our primary objective is to avoid disruption to their business."
Apparently, the NFLPA approached the NFL about a year ago to talk about extending those corporate sponsors agreements despite the expiring CBA, but the NFL wasn’t interested.
So, the NFLPA, according to Graziano, “has proposed contingency agreements that would allow those sponsors to continue to use players in their ads the way they already do. ‘If they take advantage of a contingency agreement, their rights would be protected without interruption,’ Gordon said.
More from Fanhouse, simply because Graziano can explain this better than I can:
"We've had to do a fair amount of educating the sponsors with regard to the mechanics of how it all works as far as player rights and their having access to it," Gordon said. "Not all of them know the mechanics there, so they were surprised to find out that even though, for example, they may have an agreement that runs through 2014, their player rights actually expire in 2011. Some of the sponsors felt like, 'We already paid for that,' and we told them they had to take that up with the league."
The expiration of the current agreement would deprive companies that have sponsorship deals with the NFL from using more than five players in the aggregate in any national ad campaign. For example, if Verizon uses Drew Brees and Mark Sanchez in a national ad but then uses other NFL players in smaller, local newspaper ads, the total number of players used by Verizon can't exceed five without the NFLPA's approval. The contingency agreements, the union says, would allow those companies to continue to use the players as they currently do. The only difference is that those deals would be negotiated directly between the sponsors and the players.
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