Sean Gilbert, who played DT for four teams over 12 seasons before retiring in 2003, had announced he will run against DeMaurice Smith for executive director of the NFLPA. In a release today, Gilbert announced his platform—and it begins with nothing less than blowing up the current CBA.
Gilbert believes there is collusion taking place among the NFL's owners, saying on a conference call this morning that he's "extremely" confident he can prove it. He wants to use the anti-collusion clause contained in the last CBA to to terminate it, and negotiate a new one that would give players a bigger slice of the huge revenue pie.
His platform contains 23 planks. Here, the list he sent out this morning:
Some of these will never, ever happen—the decreases in contract length and the increases in minimums, roster sizes, and a cap would cost owners more than they'd ever be willing to give up. The realization of any one of these bullet points could be enough for the owners to make sure Gilbert's body ends up in the Pine Barrens. But these aren't for the owners; they're for the players, who will be voting for union head in March. Gilbert's job now is to convince them, and he's shooting for the moon.
There is stuff in here for the owners, though, and it might be the most interesting. Gilbert recognizes the players won't get concessions without giving back, hence his "carrot": a few ideas that seem like they could substantially grow NFL revenues.
Gilbert proposes extending the season to 18 games (while cutting two preseason games) and having the season run through mid-February. That means more games, and playoff games on during sweeps—seriously sweetening the league's TV deals. Gilbert also proposes separating the Super Bowl from the larger TV deals, and having networks bid on the rights to each individual championship game, "like the Olympics."
Feasible? I don't know. Gilbert, without any legal background, faces an uphill battle to unseat Smith. But he is proposing radical changes in a union where some members are increasingly feeling like they got the worst of the last labor negotiations. Below is more of the presentation Gilbert sent out this morning, and if his candidacy had to be boiled down to one theme, it's here: Gilbert alleges that in the four seasons since the CBA was signed, it has transferred to the owners more than $2.5 billion in money that previously would have gone to players.