Potential impact of lockout on assistants

I don't anticipate spending significant time this summer discussing a potential NFL work stoppage because we're at least eight months away from a lockout. But I will point out relevant items when appropriate, and this piece from ESPN.com's Lester Munson certainly qualifies.

Munson examines the impact of labor unrest on assistant coaches, noting there are some teams who have written dramatic "lockout" clauses into their contracts as cost-cutting measures. Munson reports two extreme examples from the NFC North. Should owners lock out players in 2011, here is what would happen to assistant coaches in Minnesota and Chicago:

  • Minnesota Vikings: Ninety days of full pay after a lockout begins, followed by a 75 percent salary reduction for 90 days and then dismissal.

  • Chicago Bears: A 25 percent salary reduction on the day a lockout begins with a team option to dismiss after a 60-day notice.

In the case of the Vikings, no coach would lose his job unless a lockout extends beyond six months. And in Chicago, the "team option" wouldn't have to be exercised if the team chooses against it.

I know many of us are having a hard time accepting that a long-term work stoppage is possible, but keep in mind a lockout could begin long before actual games are scheduled.

The NFL's collective bargaining agreement expires in March of 2011. There is a school of thought that neither side will feel pressured to agree on a new deal until regular season games -- the true revenue generators for both sides - approaches in September.

According to my math, there are six months between March and September.

I don't think any NFL team will want to lose assistant coaches in this manner, but it's hard to predict what the league's economic climate will look like next year at this time.