Tom Brady’s agent thinks he has a solution for an 18-game NFL regular season: Limit how many games each player can suit up.
The players’ union opposes expanding the season by two games, one of the main sticking points in negotiations with the league for a new collective bargaining agreement.
Though agent Don Yee believes 18 games mean more bodily punishment, leading to shorter careers and possibly shorter life spans, he had these suggestions for making the change more acceptable:
_Increase the roster from 53 players to 58, and make all eligible to play on game day; currently, only 45 can play.
_Institute a rule that prohibits any player from appearing in more than 16 games.
“This compromise will create even more interest from fans,” Yee said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. “What two games will the head coach sit the starting QB? That’s a discussion that will set sports talk radio airwaves afire.
“This compromise will also be popular with coaches and general managers who want a greater opportunity to develop younger players,” he said. “The NFL doesn’t have a minor league, and this compromise will force meaningful participation by younger players on the roster.
“Players also would endorse this because each would effectively get two bye weeks during the year. Bye weeks afford important healing time and personal time away from the game.”
Yee sees a lengthened regular season as a virtual free revenue stream for the league.
“The owners want two more regular-season games to sell to television networks, and give their own NFL Network more games. More games mean more money. And the NFL Network is a growing asset owners don’t share with the players,” he said.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league had no comment on the proposals.
In addition to Brady, New England’s quarterback and the NFL MVP, Yee represents New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and is an adjunct law professor at Southern Cal and a visiting law professor at his alma mater, Virginia.
Jeopardizing the 2011 season because of the 18-game proposal and spending too much money on rookies “is ludicrous because both issues are easily solvable. And if they aren’t quickly solved, the owners and players will be insulting the intelligence of football fans everywhere.”
Yee addressed misspent money on draft picks, saying: “Each year brings high-profile rookies who end up making a lot of money and contributing very little. The Oakland Raiders’ experience with JaMarcus Russell infuriated many and is the owners’ `Exhibit A.’
“But JaMarcus Russell didn’t draft himself in the first round. The Raiders did. And Russell didn’t write himself a check for more than $30 million guaranteed dollars. The Raiders did, and did so willingly.