Doing the right thing by coaches

According to Greg Bedard's Sunday notebook in the Boston Globe, only seven of the NFL's 32 teams have pledged not to cut coaches' salaries this offseason. Three of those seven -- the Cowboys, Eagles and Giants -- play in the NFC East. The other four are the Steelers, Seahawks, Raiders and Colts, so our division here clearly wins this particular battle of class and dignity.

We've touched on this topic a few times already, but it's utterly unconscionable for NFL teams to be cutting employees' pay, laying people off and imposing furloughs at this point in the lockout. Not one single dime of revenue has been lost or will be lost until games are canceled. If anything, teams are saving on overhead this time of year by not having to pay workout bonuses or open their facilities for offseason practices. (Seriously -- can you imagine how much teams normally spend just to feed their players between OTAs?)

Sure, you can argue that the coaches aren't "working" to the extent that they would be this time of year if they actually had players around to coach, game plans to install, etc. And you may even be able to convince yourself you're justified in cutting their salaries based on such an argument. But the coaches don't fit squarely into either side of this dispute. And as Larry Kennan, the director of the NFL Coaches Association, points out in Greg's note, they're still going to work and putting in hours. You'd think teams would make the no-pay-cut promise just to build good will, or to try to get the coaches on their side. Again, no one's lost any money yet. These teams don't have to cut anyone's salary if they don't want to.

Yet NFL owners, who have imposed the lockout as a means of pressuring the players into making bargaining concessions, are cutting nonplayer salaries all over the place simply because they feel they have cover, and saving a few bucks now might help if and when the lockout extends into the season. They should be ashamed of themselves, but shame appears to be in short supply right now. Good for the Cowboys, Eagles and Giants for not engaging in this unforgivable behavior.