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2011 NFL Lockout: Union Encouraging Boycott Of 2011 NFL Combine?

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The AP is reporting that the NFLPA has discussed a boycott of the 2011 NFL Combine by draft-eligible players. The information is coming from anonymous source and basically indicates the union might be looking to work with agents to disrupt the scouting process:

The union is hopeful such a boycott would disrupt teams’ scouting of college players, but it’s unlikely to get widespread support from the agents whose first duty is helping their clients get selected high in the draft.

College players find themselves with a potentially conflicting stance on these labor negotiations compared to the NFLPA and current players. One of the proposals on the table is for a rookie wage scale that would severely decrease signing bonuses. One of the biggest issues for the league has been the rising level of signing bonuses going to unproven college stars. It sounds like this issue is one that will be resolved fairly easily, but it would cause some conflict with these draft-eligible players.

While a boycott of draft-related events would put a crimp in teams’ preparation, it’s hard to see something like this working out given the importance of these events for raising one’s draft stock. Even if there is a rookie wage scale, higher picks will still make more money than lower picks. If a player can really help their draft stock at the Combine and a Pro Day, it would be hard to convince them otherwise. Additionally, since they haven’t joined the union yet they have not received the constant messaging from union reps to the players. It’s only one more angle on a complicated process.