Curran: Why NFLPA has a point on draft boycott


Curran: Why NFLPA has a point on draft boycott

By Tom E. Curran

Last night, I got in a joust with a friend named Aaron Nagler on the Twitter. Nagler, a pretty funny entity who works at Cheesehead TVand tweets (@Aaron_Nagler) wondered why it was cool for players like Pats tight end Rob Gronkowski to go on NFL Network as a guestwhen incoming rookies are being discouraged from going to the NFL Draft which the NFL Network is (obviously) televising.
Actually, this brings up a fascinating (to me) conversation. You know the 1 billion credit the players give the owners every year from total league revenue? The money the owners are supposed to pump into ventures that grow the game? The NFL Network is a primary recipient of that money. So, in essence, the players have invested deeply in the NFL Network and are very much partners in that enterprise. They own it, too. Which is why on the Friday before the Super Bowl, the network didn't just televise the address by commissioner Roger Goodell but also the address by NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith. Further, the players - near as I can tell - haven't really been censored when they've been on. They are allowed to speak their peace on whatever topic arises. It behooves them to get on there and make their message heard. OK, fine. So why - as Nagler was asking - should rookies be discouraged from attending the NFL Draft and be televised on NFLN?This is where the legal stuff comes in. The players have a pending lawsuit accusing the NFL of antitrust violations.When theywere a trade association, the now-disbanded NFLPA agreed to allow things that went against fair trade practices as long as the owners and players bargained collectively in good faith. Now that the NFLPA is no more and the CBA's expired, a draft telling players where they will work is not a fair trade practice. It's unconstitutional, a violation of antitrust law. Sohow's it look if the players are arguing in court that the NFL is violating antitrust law, yet showing up gleefully forthe draft?So far, the players' talking point on discouraging rookies from going to the draft is that the man with whom they shake hands - Goodell - is the one locking them out. As with so many things, the players havewhiffedon an opportunityto deliver a clearer message. The draft is a violation of their rights as American workers. And without a CBA, they can't rightfully participate. What they should do is point this fact out and then magnanimously agree to attend, not for Goodell and not for the NFL Network but for the fans. The people who want to see their team's jersey held up. That would win the players a helluva lot more points with the public (where they're getting killed, by the way), thenboycotting or intimating that some rookie is going to have a hard time with veterans because he went to New York. But, to me at least, veterans have every right to appear on NFLN. They own a stake. (Read Florio's opposite viewpoint at PFT right here.)

Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Three weeks removed from his team blowing a 25-point, second-half lead in the Super Bowl, Mohamed Sanu offered a possible explanation for the Atlanta Falcons losing their edge against the Patriots.

Lady Gaga.

More specifically, it was the half-hour-plus halftime show that interrupted the Falcons' rhythm, the receiver said Friday on the NFL Network's "Good Morning Football."

“Usually, halftime is only like 15 minutes, and when you’re not on the field for like an hour, it’s just like going to work out, like a great workout, and you go sit on the couch for an hour and then try to start working out again,” Sanu said.

Sanu was asked if the delay was something you can simulate in practice. 

"It's really the energy [you can't duplicate]," he said. "I don't know if you can simulate something like that. That was my first time experiencing something like that."

Patriots coach Bill Belichick did simulate it. In his Super Bowl practices, he had his team take long breaks in the middle.

Sanu also addressed the Falcons' pass-first play-calling that didn't eat up clock while the Patriots came back.

"The thought [that they weren't running the ball more] crossed your mind, but as a player, you're going to do what the coach [Dan Quinn] wants you to do." Sanu said. "He's called plays like that all the time."


It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade


It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

The Patriots received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 from the Browns in return for Jamie Collins. That's how the trade was described on the league's transaction wire. 

The "condition" of that fourth-rounder? Well, if the Browns received a third-round compensatory pick in 2017, the Patriots would nab that pick instead. 

On Friday, the NFL announced that the Browns had in fact been awarded a third-round compensatory pick, which meant that almost three full weeks after Super Bowl LI, everything was still coming up Patriots.

In actuality, the odds were pretty good all along that the Patriots would get what they got

Cleveland lost Pro Bowl center Alex Mack in free agency last offseason when he opted to sign with the Falcons. Because compensatory picks are based on free agents lost and free agents acquired, and because the Browns did not sign any similarly-impactful free agents, there was a good chance Mack's departure would render a third-round comp pick that would be shipped to New England.

Had Mack suffered a significant injury that forced his play to drop off or limited his time on the field, a third-rounder may have been out of the question, but he played well (named a Pro Bowler and a Second Team All-Pro) and stayed healthy -- lucky for the Patriots -- missing just 17 total snaps in the regular season. 

The Browns comp pick that will be sent to New England is No. 103 overall. The Patriots were also awarded a fifth-round comp pick, No. 185 overall. That was a result of the league weighing the departures of Akiem Hicks and Tavon Wilson against the arrival of Shea McClellin.

The Patriots now have nine selections in this year's draft: One first-rounder; one second-rounder; two third-rounders; one fourth-rounder*; two fifth-rounders; two seventh-rounders.

The third-round compensatory pick acquired by the Patriots carries additional value this year in that it is the first year in which compensatory picks can be traded. A near top-100 overall selection may allow the Patriots to move up the draft board or build assets in the middle rounds should they be inclined to deal. And we know they oftentimes are. 

* The Patriots forfeited their highest fourth-round selection in this year's draft as part of their Deflategate punishment. They acquired a fourth-round pick from the Seahawks last year. Because that would have been the higher of their two selections, that's the one they'll lose. They will make their own fourth-round pick at No. 137 overall.