The NFLPA sent a form letter to all agents on Thursday, reminding them of their "obligation to retain all potentially relevant documents" that relate to the union's collusion case.
The union also asked agents keep any and all notes taken on calls and meetings with team officials, as well as any text messages or emails from the 2010 league year, when the union alleges a secret salary cap of $123 million was imposed to keep player spending in check. The league has vehemently denied that any collusion took place in responding to the suit, which was filed in a Minnesota district court in May.
The union specified three types of documents for agents to hold on to for the discovery process in the case.
• Any documents "relating to any communications regarding any agreement or understanding, whether formal or informal, by NFL clubs that the 2010 season would or would not be subject to a salary cap or any other conditions or limitations relating to NFL player salaries."
• Any documents "relating to any directives, whether formal or informal, to fix or otherwise control club spending relating to NFL player salaries during the 2010 uncapped season."
• Any documents "relating to any actual or potential NFL player contracts – including modifications to, extensions of, or restructuring of such contracts, and any negotiations and communications relating to the same – during or with respect to the 2010 NFL seasons."
When presented with the letter, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello declined comment.
The collusion lawsuit still has to clear hurdles before it can go to trial, which is where the discovery process would bring these documents into play.
The NFL has cited the Aug. 4, 2011 stipulation of dismissal in Reggie White v. the NFL, which reads that the "parties stipulate to the dismissal with prejudice of all claims, known and unknown, whether pending or not" including "asserted collusion with respect to the 2010 league year", and was signed by attorney Jeffrey Kessler. Kessler said in May that a Minnesota court rejected the stipulation.
On Aug. 11, 2011, Judge David Doty "ordered that all claims pending regarding the Stipulation and Settlement Agreement are dismissed. All other outstanding motions are dismissed." Kessler said Doty's specification on "pending" cases left the door open for case that were not pending, such as the current collusion case. Conversely, the league believes the union is bound by the Aug. 4 document.
Additionally, the union also claims that it entered into the "reallocation letter", which set the salary cap for 2011, and signed off on the Cowboys' and Redskins' penalties before that new information on the alleged 2010 cap and related violations of it surfaced. Kessler said the NFLPA had no idea, at that point, there was collusion happening.
Only after those issues are ruled on can the union's lawsuit go to trial.