The nine-man executive committee of the National Football League Players Association unanimously set a strike deadline yesterday and will announce it after a meeting with the full board of player representatives on Sept. 8, according to union executive director Gene Upshaw.

"Jack Donlan {executive director of the Management Council} has been saying that we have been making tremendous progress privately with Jack Donlan," Upshaw said. "That is not true. We have not made progress."

In a related development, NFL teams are offering players released in this week's first major round of cuts a $1,000 bonus to agree to rejoin their teams if there is a strike this season.

Donlan confirmed that he and his advisers drew up the "strike-option contracts" and distributed them to the 28 teams.

John Jones, a Management Council spokesman, yesterday said NFL owners had discussed that option in meetings "three or four months ago," and that notice was sent to the teams last week reminding them of "players who they might be interested again in seeing under various circumstances." He described the bonus as "an option agreement that gives the owners another action to look at if there's a strike or a work stoppage."

John Kent Cooke, executive vice president of the Redskins, said last night the team was offering the $1,000 bonus to its cut players this week and will do so again before final cuts. Cooke said he will not know until today how many players accepted the offer.

"The purpose is simple," he said. "We want to keep our options open."

Pittsburgh Steelers vice president Joe Gordon said seven of eight players his club released yesterday accepted the bonus and signed a contract saying they would return to play if the union strikes.

Donlan released a statement following a union news conference yesterday in Washington: "If their attempt was to put pressure on negotiations, I would think they would have announced a date. If we had a date 30 days hence, we could see the light. If their date is a couple of weeks down the road, I don't think a Herculean effort could get us there."

He also said if the union was thinking of a short strike, the revenue loss would affect management's position in future negotiations.

The players' five-year collective bargaining agreement with the league, the negotiated settlement of the 1982 players' strike, expired at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.

Speaking at the Touchdown Club yesterday, Upshaw said he was confident players are "solid, that they support the leadership.

"I wish we had better news," he said. "I wish I could say that we had made real progress, because five years ago I started down the same road."

The 28 player representatives will meet Sept. 8 to hear the executive committee's recommendations. The earliest strike date the union can set is Sept. 15, the Tuesday after the opening weekend of play, because it filed a 60-day strike notice with the league's teams and the National Labor Relations Board July 15.

Donlan recently said he believes the union will set a strike deadline of no sooner than Sept. 30. That date is two days after the third weekend of play and would give players another vested year in their pension plan. They must play four seasons before qualifying for a union pension.

Negotiations between the NFLPA and the league broke down Aug. 14 and have not resumed since. The NFLPA's executive committee met Sunday to discuss a strike date.

The union is pressing for free agency without compensation and right of first refusal by the clubs. Currently, a player cannot leave his team for another as a free agent unless the club he goes to provides some form of compensation (usually a draft choice) to the club he leaves.

Other key issues for the union are more guaranteed contracts for players and larger owner contributions to the player pension fund.