Monday, May 23, 2011
Assistant coaches taking lockout hit
By Kevin Seifert
Speaking to Greg A. Bedard of the Boston Globe, the director of the NFL Coaches Association said the Green Bay Packers have cut the salaries of assistant coaches during the lockout. But Larry Keenan added that the coaches "will recoup the money," presumably once a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is reached.
Keenan's revelation merits a circle-back on the financial plans of the entire NFC North as the lockout approaches the 70-day mark.
Chicago Bears: The Bears had the option to cut their coaches' salaries by 25 percent when the lockout began, as well as a team option to dismiss after a 60-day notice. But team president Ted Phillips said in March there will be no pay cuts, layoffs or furloughs unless the lockout leads to the cancellation of games. He didn't specify whether he meant preseason or regular-season games.
Detroit Lions: As archived by Pride of Detroit, team president Tom Lewand told local reporters that no reductions would occur in the "near-term." Here's Lewand's full quote: "We're not going to get into specifics about what the plans are, but at least in the near term, as we prepare for the draft, as we're getting ready, we are not making any modifications. There will be no changes in staffing as a result of the lockout and there'll be no changes in salaries as a result of the lockout right now."
Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings have the option of reducing the pay of assistant coaches by 75 percent after 90 days of a lockout. After a second 90-day period, or after 180 days of a lockout, assistant coaches could be dismissed. Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said in February that owner Zygi Wilf had pledged no changes in pay for the time being. But in three weeks, Wilf will have the opportunity to adjust if desired.
Most NFL assistants earn well into the six figures, and I doubt many people will sympathize if teams ultimately cut their pay. But to this point, at least, there are no indications that NFC North teams are engaging in the much more offensive practice of furloughing rank-and-file staff members to alleviate financial strain caused by the lockout. We've already seen that happening in Arizona, Miami and Baltimore.
If anyone has heard differently, by all means let me know.