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NFL players have two specific ways to improve their contracts in relation to other sports

NFL players have reacted to the craziness of NBA free agency by sounding off about the amount of money that's going around. Mike Florio explains what the NFLPA will need to do in order to make the players more money.

It’s unfair to compare the contracts of NFL players to NBA players, for one very important reason: While the total pie of cash available to NBA players is smaller, there are far fewer employees trying to grab a slice of it. As a result, considerably more cap space is available per player in the NBA.

If NFL players want more cap space per player, there are two specific ways to get there: (1) increase the total chunk of pie that the players get in relation to the owners; and/or (2) grow the pie.

The objectives are related, and there’s a way the players can proceed that makes both happen.

The pie grows as the sport grows, and the sports grows with extra regular-season games, an expanded postseason, and a clear commitment to the kind of international presence that will result in foreign fans having the same passion for the game as Americans. To date, the players collectively have resisted those kinds of changes, and that becomes useful at the bargaining table.

The players can reluctantly agree to these pie-growing devices in exchange for a bigger slice of the pie. So the total revenue would grow and, in turn, the players’ share of it would grow and the end result becomes more available cap space per player.

Other steps would be required to ensure that players can get through extra games without undue wear and tear. Maybe the NFL would agree to marijuana use for medical purposes in order to seal the deal. Regardless, there are only two ways for NFL players to get more -- bake a bigger pie and take a bigger piece.

Even though the current CBA covers five more years, new terms can be negotiated at any time. If players really want more money to be available to them under the salary cap in the near future, these are the only two ways to get there.

Alternatively, the players can focus only on getting a bigger piece of the pie after the current labor deal expires, striking or forcing a lockout in order to get more. To make that happen, however, the players will have to be willing to take no pie for all or part of a season -- and to realize that the pie necessarily will shrink in the immediate aftermath of a work stoppage.