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Tim Benz: NFL contract issues are not just for the Steelers anymore



About 1 hour ago

I was in Ireland recently.

At a pub.

Shocker, right?

I walked up to get a beer. An Irish guy was talking to two Americans about sports.

Here's the last thing

"Why do you Americans make everything so complicated?" hey

By that point, I'm pretty sure he was not just talking about sports.

Whether it was or not, he had a point.

I do not think the two Americans had even come close to introducing the concept of the franchise.

At this time last year, those in Pittsburgh were deep in that concept because of Le'Veon Bell's complicated contract status.

Bell ends up staying away from the Steelers ̵

1; and football entirely – for the 2018 season , and the Steelers were left with a $ 14.5 million empty roster spot.

Why? Well, because Bell could get away with doing that, I guess.

We all know how that turned out.

A few months later, receiver Antonio Brown forced himself out of a contract with Oakland.

And into a big contract extension.

Why? Again, because he could.

Those things happened because of the NFL collective bargaining agreement.

In other words, the Irish guy at the bar was right.

The popular thing to do on Twitter – and in most media outlets – these days are to take the side of the players on matters as this.

It's very progressive and forward thinking portray multimillionaire athletes as downtrodden working-class citizens who are painfully mistreated by their draconian owners.

That's stupid. But it's what social media causes, nonetheless.

The cliche move of the day is to let the NFL players cry over a collective bargaining agreement their own union signed. Then praise them for manipulating the rules of that same CBA.

Ignoring that inconvenient reality is easy to do because NFL owners are largely the billionaire products of rich, white privilege so … whatever. Screw 'em, right?

Any opinion against the controlling class gets you lots of likes and retweets. So let's rage against the machine, n'at.

But the truth remains that Brown weaseled himself out of a valid contract.

Now Chargers running back Melvin Gordon and Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott are threatening to sit out the whole year as well, despite the fact that

At least, Bell and Brown played through that barrier.

When the Steelers were going through contract drama with those two stars, I wrote a column that stating that the NFL needed to change its collective bargaining

I've excoriated for that online because of the forward-thinking Twitter elite said it was silly of me to suggest the NFL players had too much power in a system that could cut them from valid contracts.

Is that true for the rank and file? Sure.

I was repeatedly told that the Steelers were specifically to blame for their state of affairs, in the first place. I was told this was a Pittsburgh Steelers problem, not an NFL problem.

Guess not. Unless Gordon and Elliott came to Pittsburgh while I was in Ireland and I missed that memo.

I reiterate now what I said before. [More] [more] The Hibernation is a more tangible comp for European football.

19659002] But his point is right. Simple is better. A deal for the player should be a deal for the player.

And the team.

You should not be able to cut him. And he should not be able to renegotiate.

If contract simplification does not happen in the next NFL CBA, what Brown and Bell did just want the tip of the iceberg.

The recent threats by Elliott and Gordon are proof of that.

Tim Benz is a Tribune review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter . All tweets could be reposted.


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