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NFLPA "Secret" Insurance Helps Ensure 2011 NFL Season

As we reported to you earlier, economic terms are generally being agreed to by both sides of the NFL labor dispute, especially considerations regarding rookie compensation.

While there are still hurdles, as more news of negotiations comes out, it has come out that DeMaurice Smith has a card or two up his sleeve, one of which was played in a big way on Thursday. That card, some believe, is what has helped the ownership's eyes open up a bit to the fact that they need the season more than they have been willing to admit.

It's not a secret that DeMaurice Smith is a man who wants to have all his bases covered. It has come to be known that Smith secured an insurance policy to ensure that players got at least something in the event of a lockout in the 2011 season. As reported by Jim Trotter at CNNSI:

It's one of the reasons that slightly more than a year ago he received approval from the executive committee to secure insurance that would pay each player roughly $200,000 if there were no football in 2011.

There's no guarantee that this was the thing that has truly pushed negotiations forward, but it has long been popular opinion that once players started missing paychecks, they would become a lot more antsy to get a deal done and on paper.

Now, 200,000 is chump change to some players contracts, but for a lot of those guys making near league minimum, that's 50-60 percent of their salary. The kind of cushion that could make some players significantly less worried, and enough to make the owners realize they don't have all the cards.

What do you think? Is this the last play card of a desperate man, or does Smith have some more tricks to pull out as we near the end of this long negotiation nightmare?