The executive director of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), DeMaurice Smith, has said a work stoppage in 2021 is inevitable.
The current NFL collective bargaining agreement runs through the 2020 season and the NFLPA does not plan on budging on its demands.
"I think that the likelihood of either a strike or a lockout in 2021 is almost a virtual certainty," Smith told the MMQB.
The NFL locked out players following the 2010 season, but the league and union agreed on a new collective bargaining agreement in July of 2011. While that lockout cost players their off-season, no games were lost. That might not be the case four years from now as Smith said owners colluded to get the deal they wanted in 2011.
"We have a new deal where if it doesn't get fixed, you head into a certain 'small a' armageddon," Smith added.
Many NFL players were not prepared for a lockout in 2011 and the union made some financial concessions in the agreement to get a deal done. Former NFL guard Geoff Schwartz told Bleacher Report last month players need to "sit out games" if necessary.
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman also said last month: "Players have to be willing to strike."
Sherman told ESPN: "You're going to have to miss games, you're going to have to lose some money if you're willing to make the point, because that's how MLB and NBA got it done. "They missed games, they struck, they flexed every bit of power they had, and it was awesome. It worked out for them."