The owners do not want a former player. They want a lawyer, and for good reason.
I can't figure out how the big market owners haven't seen the writing on the wall (revenue sharing, contract terms, salary %) and put together a contraction deal. They are the ones losing national TV revenue and sharing revenue with hopeless franchises.
None of us have the numbers to know what that would look like, but take 6.67% annually back from the TV deal, don't spend XX dollars sharing revenue with junk markets, amortize it over a couple decades, and I have to figure there's a buyout/contraction deal in there somewhere.
That is their best negotiating deal. 6.67% of players unemployed, or... take this offer. Would be super ballsy, but the superstar players would want it, and it would probably cause a big mess inside the union ranks.
If I was a prick, that's what I would try to do.