— Don't be surprised that so many coaches are keeping their jobs this year. It all has to do with the collective bargaining agreement that has yet to be negotiated between NFL owners and players. Despite optimistic rhetoric coming from several owners, those of us who have been involved in negotiations with NFL owners know that this will likely not be settled until the last possible moment. Usually NFL owners make rookie players holdout at least a few days before coming up with a legitimate offer. Sometimes the player folds under the pressure and takes a lesser deal before camp starts. If the owners use that same tactic in these negotiations then we will probably not have football until late September. If the deal is settled just before the first games on the schedule, the opener could not possibly occur until the middle of September at the earliest.
I don't want to dump all of this on the owners. Many of the owners believe that DeMaurice Smith, the head of the Player's Union, cannot accept any offer until at least some games have been canceled or he will appear to be soft. Some also believe that Smith has political aspirations after these negotiations and is looking at this as some kind of platform for his future. Is any of that true? I don't know, but believe me the paranoia on both sides is growing.
Which gets me back to my original point as to why so many coaches are being re-hired when their jobs appeared to be in jeopardy. For the sake of argument, let's say that the collective bargaining agreement isn't settled until September 1st. If the Dallas Cowboys had fired their entire staff, the first time the new coach would have been able to meet with his (or her) new team would be September 1st. Do you think that Bill Belichick and the Patriots might have some advantage over that new staff? Almost laughable isn't it? If you hire an entirely new coaching staff, they may have at most three weeks to put their new scheme in place before the season starts. The likely reward? A very high draft pick the following year.
So be happy for Jason Garrett, Marvin Lewis, Leslie Frazier, Jack Del Rio and Gary Kubiak for retaining their jobs. Be happy, but don't be surprised. These coaches picked a good year to be on the bubble.
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