Several NFL teams have announced furloughs or payroll deductions for their office staff and even coaches during the current lockout. The Falcons are no exception.
While owner Arthur Blank has not mandated furloughs or significant cuts, there have been minor payroll reductions to members of the office staff, according to somebody familiar with the organization. The team has not made any announcement regarding the pay cuts, per the organization’s policy of not discussing internal business matters.
Blank, who is as image-conscious as they come, also prefers that this type of news not get out. But the cuts seemed inevitable.
This is a situation worth watching. The longer the lockout goes, the more antsy owners will get. The lack of television, ticket and advertising revenue, as well as other sources of income, at some point will lead to difficult decisions.
The owners are banking on the NFL Players Association cracking first. While players won’t start losing game checks until the regular season begins, many have lost contract bonuses for organized team workouts. It’s the reason owners have fought so hard for the lockout in court.
Coaches are siding with the players. The NFL Coaches Association has filed a 20-page legal brief in support of the union (you can read it here).
They have a vested interest. The Detroit Lions have begun two-week furloughs that affect all employees, including coach Jim Schwartz and general manager Martin Mayhew.
Among the other teams that have slashed payroll, mandated furloughs or are considering one or the other are the Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens. (Thanks to ProFootballTalk.com for the reporting and aggregation of other teams’ plans.)
Final editorial comment: There is something wrong when low-salaried secretaries are paying the price for a collective bargain war between billionaire owners and millionaire players. That’s something both sides need to think about.
By Jeff Schultz