“Smoke if ya got em” – Dee Smith 2020

As a follow up to Bruce’s Article,


Don’t forget the role of our hero and the NFL’s number one double agent, Dee Smith. After all, with everything Bruce said being 100% accurate, it’s not as if the NFL wrote an offer by themselves and sent it to the NFLPA for a vote. Dee personally negotiated this crap sandwich on behalf of all players, present and future, guys making $30 million annually and guys making $150,000 to be a tackling dummy during camp. Dee says this is a good deal, just like he said the last one was a good deal. Anyone remember what Dee said about a year after his last ‘good deal’ had been approved and set in motion?

He botched the timing as well. If he wanted the deal to slide through without scrutiny and without complaints from the mega rich players, he should have negotiated into the summer. Current estimates are that 1,900 players are members of the union. That’s likely because if you’re not under contract, you don’t have to have to pay dues and remain a voting member(and why would you pay dues if you’re an unemployed practice squad guy that was cut last year?). So right now, the opinion and certainly the vote of practice squad guys do not matter. Come summer when the rosters expand, there will be a FLOOD of new voting members that can’t afford to vote against paychecks. The current group is made up of 1. megamillionaires that can vote their conscience(or their personal best interests in the hopes of making more megamillions) and 2. the vast majority of NFL players, the middle and working class players who will really decide the outcome(the guys the NFL truly needs to sign on, and the most likely guys to sign on no matter what the deal says).

The trick on either side is, to get the NFLPA to vote at a time where the percentage of membership is highest in favor of your own agenda. A bad deal for the players is signed easier when all the working class players flood the union, because they have no choice, they’ll sign ANYTHING. If you want to drive a hard bargain with the NFL, the NFLPA 1. needs a backbone in negotiations and 2. needs voting to occur at a time where players with the money to hold out are at their highest percentage of voting power.

An interesting note about those middle and working class players during this time of year though, THEY ARE CURRENTLY ABLE TO VOTE AGAINST THE DEAL BECAUSE THEY AREN’T MAKING GAME CHECKS YET ANYWAY. This is an opportunity for the players, for Dee. He can get tough because he doesn’t have to ask his players to hold out.

Come camp, when the current working and middle class players are desperately waiting on that first check, their principles will go out the window in favor of game checks, PLUS most new draft picks desperately awaiting their first game check can be added to the list of players that can’t afford not to play……plus this is also where the undrafted free agents really make their impact. When the roster is at 90, each team is carrying 40 camp/practice squad guys like the ones described in Bruce’s article(guys who will for 1 year of their life make $150,000 and spend the rest of their lives selling cars); they’re guys WITH CONTRACTS(even if very temporary ones), all voting members in the union during their employment, and not one of them can afford to miss a shot at proving themselves in a regular season NFL game; and they certainly can’t afford to miss a single check if they’re lucky enough to actually make the team.

If there was any chance of changing the players lives for the better, it was this deal at this moment. Right now Dee’s voting membership does not include those practice squad guys whose NFL career will span from a couple months in camp to maybe a 1 year career. If those guys are voting, they WILL vote to play and get paid EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

Today though, Dee is dealing with players under contract who should be (but probably aren’t) utilizing their money wisely, but who RISK NOTHING BY PLAYING HARDBALL EVEN TEMPORARILY. The guaranteed yes votes aren’t here. Dee could take this moment to fight for his members and then try to sell them a deal not for the present, but for the greater good. The practice squad guys aren’t here, so he’s selling this deal to current membership; the only voters today are the guys that should be financially secure and might actually be capable of fighting for the greater good. Instead, Dee clearly did another poor job, took the table scraps the NFL handed him(congrats, there was barely testing for weed before, so what have you won?), and the NFLPA has 2 options.

Option 1: Reject the deal, negotiate a couple more months, and bring it back for another vote when the camp and practice squad will vote yes to whatever is put in front of them. The NFL knows this and there’s no chance they offer anything meaningful.

Option 2: Just vote yes right away, declare legal weed the equivalent of a equal trade for a 17th game on the health benefits front, and accept the deal that you were inevitably going to accept anyway.

I suppose there’s a third option, which is wait until the current deal expires and then undergo this identical analysis, but nothing will change because we all know Dee can’t get the NFL to give him anything. The NFL’s power is that a. Dee is stupid, b., Dee is stupid, and c. brinksmanship works in favor of the NFL hear because all the players can do is let the deal lapse and sit out as long as they can, but we know that the majority of voters are the guys that cannot afford to sit out a single game, so any attempt to do so will be short lived before the players crack.

Nothing that has happened so far surprises me. I’m not surprised Dee made a poor deal, I’m not surprised the NFL gave him virtually nothing in exchange for a 17th game, I’m not surprised Dee declared victory for negotiating a terrible deal for the players (again), and I’m not surprised that Dee blew the timing of the deal.

But hey, there’s only testing for weed like 2 weeks out of the year, and as we all know from the internet, weed is medicinal, it’s practically penicillin, and it’ll probably solve the players’ long term health care risks that Dee failed to successfully resolve in this deal. So the players have got that going for them, which is nice.

“Smoke if you got em.” – Dee Smith, 2020



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