FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Jets tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson, the team's player representative for the NFL Players Association, said Tuesday he looks forward to studying the proposals put forth by former defensive lineman Sean Gilbert, who plans to run for NFLPA executive director against incumbent DeMaurice Smith.
Gilbert has outlined several ideas for changing the current labor deal, including a plan to terminate the collective-bargaining agreement, moving to an 18-game regular-season schedule, and a $1-million minimum salary.
"This is the first time we've had an election process in a very long time [Smith was elected in March 2009], so I think it will be a new experience for everyone," Ferguson said. "We're very unified as a group, but I think we'll all look at it. You had to see the whole body of work [of any labor proposals]. If you're going to be in a negotiation, there's always going to be trade-offs. We'll just have to wait and see, and we'll see what the people feel is the right choice to make."
Gilbert, who played for the Rams, Panthers and Washington, has several ideas to change the structure of the current labor deal. They include:
Terminating the CBA, a 10-year deal that was negotiated in 2011.
A $1-million minimum salary.
Reducing contracts to three years, and allowing renegotiation after one season.
Reducing all rookie contracts to three years.
Unrestricted free agency after three years.
Reducing commissioner Roger Goodell's power to discipline players.
Increasing roster sizes from 53 to 57.
Requiring all teams to spend 100 percent cash of the salary cap.
"You can say, 'I want this and that,' but until you actually sit in that room and have those discussions, it's just a projection," Ferguson said. "People run for office, and they say they're going to do this and that. When they have to make certain decisions, it may or may not be that easy. We'll wait and vote when the time is necessary."
Assistant player rep Nick Mangold, the Jets' veteran center, said support runs high for the current labor deal. But the players are willing to listen to other ideas.
"We had our [union] meeting this spring, and no one in our locker room voiced any displeasure at things that were going on," Mangold said. "But it's always good to take a look at what the players are saying and see how it's working out for older guys, the younger guys and the guys in between."
Mangold said the current labor agreement seems to be working better now that there has been a spike in the salary cap after three flat seasons.
"I think for a while there, with the cap staying the same, it kind of hurt some of the veterans that were toward the end of their careers," Mangold said. "I think we're starting to see with the cap increases, hopefully that the money goes to the right people. It's one of those wait-and-see deals. It seems to be going in the right direction."
As far as Gilbert's proposals are concerned, Mangold said he'll take a wait-and-see approach.
"You can say, like someone running for high school class president, 'I'm going to get vending machines in every classroom,' " Mangold said. "You can throw it out there, but if you don't have a plan behind it, those are just talking points. It will be interesting to get that information and see what he's got."