New NFL Players Association Executive Director, Lloyd Howell, is facing his first major issue with the NFL. The league has filed a grievance against the players union, accusing them of advising running backs to breach their contracts as a negotiation tactic. This move by the NFL has sparked controversy and could have significant implications for player contracts and negotiations in the future.

The NFL’s grievance, which was filed last Tuesday, alleges that the NFLPA advised running backs to fake injuries to avoid practicing while negotiating new contracts. This tactic would be a violation of the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players union. The Washington Post first reported on the grievance, citing two league sources who are not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Members of the NFL’s Management Council Executive Committee received a memo from the league informing them of the grievance. The memo stated that the NFLPA leadership, including President JC Tretter, had been advising dissatisfied players to consider feigning or exaggerating injuries to withhold their services as a way to increase their leverage in contract negotiations. The memo also mentioned a formal Zoom meeting hosted by the NFLPA with certain NFL running backs where this advice was conveyed.

The NFLPA has formally filed its response to the arbitrator, denying the claims made by the league. It is unclear how long the review process will take to complete. This dispute between the league and the players union comes at a time when Howell has just taken over as executive director of the NFLPA, succeeding DeMaurice Smith in June. Howell’s role is to improve working conditions and earning opportunities for the NFL’s 2,000 players.

This past offseason was marked by contract disputes for several leading running backs in the NFL. Despite their productive seasons, these players were unable to secure multiyear contract extensions from their teams. Austin Ekeler of the Chargers and other high-profile running backs held a video meeting to discuss strategies for creating better leverage during contract negotiations.

Josh Jacobs of the Raiders, Saquon Barkley of the Giants, and Tony Pollard of the Cowboys all received franchise tag designations from their teams instead of multiyear contract offers. Jacobs and Barkley refused to sign the tags initially but eventually signed one-year deals worth more than the tag amount. Jonathan Taylor of the Colts was granted permission to seek a trade after his team declined to offer him a contract extension, but no trade materialized.

These running backs are seeking long-term security and fair contracts, but their negotiations have been met with challenges and disputes. The outcome of the NFL’s grievance against the players union could have a significant impact on future contract negotiations and the relationship between players and teams.

In conclusion, the NFL’s filing of a grievance against the players union alleging that running backs were advised to breach their contracts as a negotiation tactic has created a contentious situation. The league accuses the NFLPA of advising players to fake injuries, which would be a violation of the collective bargaining agreement. The players union has denied these claims, and the review process is ongoing. This dispute highlights the challenges faced by running backs in securing long-term contracts and fair compensation. The outcome of this grievance could shape future negotiations and player-team relationships in the NFL.

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