ARIZONA CARDINALS

Cardinals’ Patrick Peterson, Kenyan Drake against NFL CBA proposal

Mar 5, 2020, 2:36 PM
Defensive back Patrick Peterson #21 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates on the sideline during the ...
Defensive back Patrick Peterson #21 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates on the sideline during the second half of game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on December 22, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. The Cardinals won 27-13. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

The NFL Players Association sent ballots to members Thursday for voting on the proposed collective bargaining agreement, giving the union a week to either ensure another 11 years of labor peace or send the matter back to the drawing board.

The NFLPA announced that votes would be accepted through March 12 at one minute before midnight Eastern Time. The more than 2,000 members will have a window of about 7 1/2 days to examine the 439-page document and cast a yes or no vote.

Ratification requires a simple majority. So if only 1,000 ballots were returned, the union would need 501 yes votes to approve.

Several notable Arizona Cardinals leaders expressed on social media that they would be voting against ratification. That included soon-to-be free agent running back Kenyan Drake, who is looking at a pay-bump, as well as cornerback Patrick Peterson, who is set to make a base salary of $12.1 million in 2020.

Defensive tackle Corey Peters, who has a base salary of $3 million next season, said he already voted “no” due to the offseason schedule and the 17-game regular season proposed.

On Instagram, Peterson posted a photo with a simple message: “No SIR won’t do it, can’t do it!” That accompanied the caption “#playersleague.”

Cardinals Byron Murphy and Joshua Miles, both on rookie contracts starting under $1 million, were among those to like the post. More wealthy NFL players including Dak Prescott, Deshaun Watson and Earl Thomas gave it likes, while former Cardinals Scooby Wright and Deone Bucannon, who are fringe NFL players, also showed support of Peterson’s message.

Joining Doug & Wolf on Arizona Sports, Cardinals safety Budda Baker said Thursday that he would ask more questions before deciding on his vote.

“I’m the type of guy that puts a lot of thought into decisions like that. It’s a very complex ballot and I’m going to read it to the best of my ability, ask questions of both sides, veterans and younger players, and go from there,” Baker said.

Left guard Justin Pugh pleaded with his fellow NFL players to learn the proposal, ask questions and vote.

Every player who was a dues-paying member during the 2019 season received a ballot, the NFLPA said. Votes will be confidential and received by an independent auditor.

“We encourage every NFL player to review the the full collective bargaining agreement and exercise their democratic right to vote,” the union said in a statement.

The distribution took place two weeks after league owners voted their approval of the agreement that’s a product of 10 months of talks between both sides. The NFLPA’s 11-member executive committee initially voted 6-5 against the proposed terms, but last week in Indianapolis during the NFL scouting combine the 32 team representatives narrowly voted in favor of sending the CBA to the full membership for approval. The new rules, if accepted, would be in effect through the 2030 league year.

With the owners unwavering in their favor of a 17-game regular season, players focused more on safeguards for the additional wear and tear and an increased share of the revenue that would grow with the extra game.

Plenty of high-profile players have adamantly spoken out against the proposal, including Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, Houston defensive end J.J. Watt, Pittsburgh center Maurkice Pouncey and Minnesota wide receiver Stefon Diggs.

Their primary contention with the terms is that they don’t go far enough to reward and protect the players for the extra game. Pouncey went so far as to announce recently on social media he was arranging a contingency fund with fellow critics Mike Pouncey and Russell Okung that would assist young players in the event of a strike.

There’s no telling how the full vote will turn out, though, with lesser-known and fringe players outnumbering stars. This CBA would give a bigger boost to the rank-and-file players than usual, with a roughly 20% hike to the minimum salary right away, to $610,000. That figure would top $1 million by 2029.

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said last week he believed the proposal would pass. NFL owners initiated a lockout in 2011 that lasted more than four months, but the two sides came together to reach the current agreement right before training camps were to begin. The last time games were lost to a labor dispute was during the player strike in 1987.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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