Sherman: ‘Players gotta be willing to strike’ if they want better contracts

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(Photo: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES – Richard Sherman said Wednesday that if NFL players want contracts that come closer to those of their NBA and MLB counterparts, they’re going to have to go on strike.

Speaking at a red-carpet event before the ESPYs in L.A., the Seattle Seahawks cornerback said striking was the only way to close the salary gap between the sports.

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“If we want to – as the NFL, and as a union – get anything done, then players gotta be willing to strike,” Sherman told ESPN’s Jalen Rose. “I think that’s the thing guys need to 100 percent realize is, you’re going to have to miss games, you’re going to have to lose some money if you’re willing to make the point, because that’s how MLB and the NBA got it done.

“They missed games, they struck, they flexed every bit of power that they had, and it was awesome. It worked out for them.”

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According to a Forbes study published at the end of 2016, the average NBA salary is $6.2 million, the average MLB salary is $4.4 million, the average NHL salary is $2.9 million, and the average NFL salary is $2.1 million.

Sherman also said players need to rethink the way they approach contract negotiations, opting for new leverage every few years over potential long-term security.

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“I think players get caught up in ‘Oh, I want to be the biggest and baddest,’ and you got the biggest and baddest fake deal that anybody could have,” he said. “It’s gonna pop like a balloon. But instead of just taking the three years that you have fully guaranteed and just ending there, most of these guys are like ‘Oh, I want a six year deal,’ but only three are guaranteed, so why would I take a six-year deal?

“I don’t need a six-year deal. Give me the three, and then the salary cap’s gonna bump again, and after the three I’m gonna bump again. And then guys are like “Well, what if I get hurt?” Well, if you get hurt at the end of the three, they’re probably gonna cut you anyways. So what’s the real difference?”