NFL proposes 35% of players’ salaries be held in escrow

Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson and Terez Paylor discuss the league's proposal to hold 35% of player's salaries in escrow and what repercussions may follow.

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Video Transcript

[CHEERING]

CHARLES ROBINSON: So the league floated this idea of all the players taking 35% of all salaries and putting them into escrow. And the escrow account basically being something that the league could draw upon in the face of financial hardship.

Now, I'm just going to go ahead and take a leap here and say, none of that 35% is ever going back to players if that happens. It's going to be, basically, the hit that the league absorbs, players are going to be expected to absorb some of that hit. Agents went nuts. When this went out there, agents were pissed. Drew Rosenhaus was angry--

TEREZ PAYLOR: Oh, you bet your ass they were.

CHARLES ROBINSON: You had David Canter. You had all these different guys who were out there tweeting about--

TEREZ PAYLOR: Tell them why, though. Tell them why.

CHARLES ROBINSON: [INAUDIBLE]

TEREZ PAYLOR: Well, I think the reality is players are taking a risk here. And so at least this is what I have seen. You have agents who are saying, you're talking about taking away money from these guys, but they're taking a risk. They're the ones going on the field and taking the health risk, while owners are tucked away. It's called hazard pay.

[LAUGHTER]

But why are agents pissed about it? Because remember, in some cases, these guys don't even get the full 3%. For the big name guys, you might be getting 1/2%. I get guys telling me that-- the point is, they care about their own money, too, but it's hazard pay. They're the ones that's going to be out there on a field with 21 other guys at all times in these little-ass facilities, right?

I don't blame them for fighting known them, but Charles, don't you think-- you know what the weird part is, too? And I'm the last one to sympathize with owners. I'm not here to do that. But I get why they would ask for it, because they're about to take an L, with at the very least, fewer people in the stadium. At the very least, we know that. There's going to be significantly fewer people in the stadium. They're going to have to take that L. They're asking the players to take it with them.

As always, I hope the best for the players, but I'm not surprised they asked for it. I'm more interested in what's going to happen. What is the middle ground here? What do you think that looks like?

CHARLES ROBINSON: Well, the players-- the union has already said, that's a hard no. We're not giving back 35% of salaries. It's not happening. I don't think the league would have thought about that unless it was serious about players incurring some of the financial loss.

And if teams were like, we're incurring financial loss, you're going to incur financial loss, we're going to share all of this burden together, yes, even though you're the ones out there taking the risks-- maybe that's how, if you're the union, you have to calculate this and go, look. Yeah, we're all sharing a loss together, but there is one group that's taking a greater risk than anyone else. It's the players.

Look. I have a theory that if it's a hard no from the union, if the players fight this tooth and nail-- and let's say that the league takes the complete L here and just is like, all right, we've got to pay out the full salary. So let's say they do that. It will not be forgotten.

And I think that one way or another the league will try to come back to players. They'll come after them on this. And they'll do it in other ways. Maybe it'll be the next collective bargaining agreement. There will be owners who will be so pissed about this, saying, OK, well, I guess the one who has to incur all the loss. while you guys take home the same pay. I'm not happy with this. I'm going to remember that.

TEREZ PAYLOR: [LAUGHS]

CHARLES ROBINSON: And at some point down the line, whether it's in singular negotiations with guys--

TEREZ PAYLOR: I don't. I don't.

CHARLES ROBINSON: --whether it's in the collective negotiations. But I can tell you, the union and the NFL's so far harmonious relationship through this will break down very quickly if there is no middle ground.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

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