The specter of a possible work stoppage next year has lingered over this season like a dark ominous cloud.
This week, for the first time, the NFL office laid out the league's plan to its employees in the event of a lockout or work stoppage, FOX Sports has learned. It was the first time the NFL officially addressed the troops in preparation for the worst-case scenario.
Department heads were gathered and informed of what has been described as a three-phase plan to handle a lockout or work stoppage. They are then instructed to relay the plan to employees in each department.
The plan was described to FOX Sports by multiple sources as followed: Phase One, which would begin if a new collective bargaining agreement is not reached by April, entails pay cuts for commissioner Roger Goodell and senior vice presidents.
In the event a new deal is still not reached a few months after that Phase Two would entail the majority of league employees taking two-week unpaid leaves of absence. Phase Three would result in larger scale pay cuts and salary freezes.
NFL PR head Greg Aiello confirmed that such a move was made this week as league employees have been curious as of late as to what will happen in this worst-case scenario.
"Our employees are aware of both of the strident comments coming from the NFLPA leadership for more than a year and the union's current actions to position itself to decertify and go out of business," Aiello said.
"Our employees want to know what we would do if despite our best good-faith efforts, no agreement is reached. Our primary focus remains on negotiating a new agreement."
While it all sounds disheartening, obviously nobody wins in the event of a work stoppage.