OT Solder: CBA ‘great deal for the core players’


New York Giants left tackle Nate Solder explained to NBCSports.com why he will vote yes on the proposed collective bargaining agreement, saying it’s “a great deal for the core players.”

Many star players, such as Russell Wilson, J.J. Watt and Aaron Rodgers, have voiced their disapproval of the proposed CBA, which would allow NFL owners to add a 17th game as soon as the 2021 season, and have said they will vote no and urged their fellow players to do the same.

Solder told NBCSports.com that he is trying to be a voice for players who support the deal but don’t have the social media following of players who are opposing the proposal.

“Minimum salaries would go up significantly, with bumped-up benefits for current players and retired players. We’d increase the practice squad [from 10 to 14 by 2022] . Work rules would improve. I don’t think it’s perfect, but we’re making incremental gains on player health and safety. Some players have fallen victim to the thought if we turn this down, we’ll get something better. We might, but we might not. You have a couple of guys on Twitter who have millions of followers criticizing the deal. Other guys who support it might have 5,000 followers. Their voices aren’t loud. In some ways, I’m trying to be a voice for the voiceless,” he said.

Solder, the Giants’ player representative who has made $70.9 million in his career and will be entering his 10th season in 2020, told NBCSports.com that he believes in democracy and said a poll of some of his teammates who haven’t yet made big money found they were in favor of the tradeoff of a 17th game for better benefits and more money.

“I’ve asked at least 15 guys on our team, mostly minimum-salary guys or close to that, this question: ‘If you were able to make more money and get better benefits in exchange for a 17th game, would you do it?’ Everyone said yes.” Solder told the website. “I respect democracy, and I respect the process. The reps are passionate about doing the best for the players. A lot of guys have a fighter’s mentality to get the best deal for the most players. I respect that. But I would rather take the deal that’s presented here than put everyone in danger of not getting a deal.”

NFL player reps voted 17-14-1 last week to approve the 10-year agreement with the league. The full proposal will be presented to the full player membership to vote on and a simple majority is needed for it to pass. There is no timetable yet as to when that vote will happen.

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said at the combine last week that there was a concerted effort in the negotiations to help the “core players,” which he said accounts for about 60% of the players who make the league minimum. As part of the new deal, minimum base salaries will increase by $100,000 in 2020. For the players who make more than $4.25 million, they will receive a regular game check for playing a 17th game instead of having their weekly pay capped at $250,000.

Smith said the percentage that will go to the players could rise above 48.5% in the future, which could mean a $3 billion to $5 billion increase over the life of the deal. He expressed confidence that players will approve a new CBA but said he understood why players might be upset.

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