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The Player’s Dilemma

There was widely publicized dispute between the National Football League (NFL) and the National Football League Players’ Association (NFLPA) over negotiations to reach a new Collective Bargaining Agreement resulting in an owners’ lockout. This lockout had been building up for the past two NFL season’s and it was inevitable that it was going to effect the 2011 NFL season. The owners’ lockout not only affected teams and players, but this sad occurrence has also affected future NFL draft prospects and, most importantly, the fans.

Allow me to break down the NFL and NFLPA’s situation. If they were to both make major concessions and try to meet in the middle, fans would probably have seen that start of free agency sooner and the NFL draft would not have been in jeopardy. However, the problem is that if one side makes major concessions and the other side doesn’t, the side that made the concessions has now lost major bargaining power. If neither side makes any concessions, the court case proceeds, and a judge settle the matter, just like in a real prisoner’s case. For the group (NFL and NFLPA), it made  the most sense for them to both make concessions and get a new Collective Bargaining Agreement hammered out; however, for each side individually it made the most sense to stand firm and make no concessions. If they made no concessions, the worst-case is that they try their luck in court and possibly win, and the best-case is that the other side makes concessions and they get everything they want. I am happy to have seen a new CBA this past summer and have an official start to the NFL season.

The prisoner’s dilemma can also be applied to free agency in the NFL. As the YouTube video demonstrates, teams in the NFL now have a minimum and maximum in salary cap. This means that NFL teams have to pay their players at least $106.8 million and at most $120 million. This decision will lead to players signing large contracts with their teams. The narrator in the YouTube video said that teams will either pay large amounts to talented free agents or distribute the money to the players currently on their roster. But if teams choose the latter, others teams who are willing to pay more for “big time” players will have better talent on their respected teams.

A good example of the free agent dilemma would be the Philadelphia Eagles signing the number free agent cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. The Eagles were in a prisoner’s dilemma with the New York Jets. The Eagles were able to sign the star cornerback because they were willing to overpay for his talent. Asomugha signed a 5 year $60 million contract with the Eagles, which I believe makes him the highest paid cornerback in the history of the game. As a big Eagles fan, I was very happy to hear the news and looks forward to the 2011 NFL season.


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