Late Tuesday night, the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) representatives voted to send a proposed collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the association and the NFL owners to the remaining some 2,000 players in the league. A new CBA would would run through the 2030 season, or 10 years from it’s ratification.
Several prominent players such as Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, and Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkise Pouncy have spoken out or voted against the new collective bargaining agreement.
Two important aspects of the new deal which has been contended by the players themselves, especially veteran players, has been the implementation of a 17th regular season game — with a caveat of reducing the preseason schedule from four games to three, and the minimal distribution of revenue to player safety ratio.
Another issue would arise if the NFL continues to add games, potentially moving to 18 at the risk of player safety, as NFL commissioner Rodger Goodell spoke on before.
It should be noted that while the NFL cannot implement a 17-game season without the players approval, they can adjust the playoff seeds. The NFL will, however, likely be adding a seventh seed to the playoffs, causing only the top team in each conference to have a bye week with three games in each conference player on wild card weekend.
While the players would receive a bump in revenue-share from 47% to 48% (with 48.5% if a 17-game season is approved and medic kicker reaches 48.5%), some players sill aren’t satisfied with it without other concessions including certain offseason training programs.
It is worth noting that the revenue split for leagues such as the NBA (50%), MLB (48%), and NHL (50%), are equal or greater in revenue splitting than the proposed plan for the NFL and NFLPA.
Jaguars defensive lineman Calais Campbell recently took to twitter to address players in a flurry of tweets imploring players to do their homework before voting on the proposed agreement. Campbell did not indicate one way or another how he was leaning or how he voted on the proposed agreement.
Fact: all players now have a chance to educate themselves on the proposed CBA! Everyone has a vote and a voice! And having just went through hours and hours of discussion...it’s not easy. Most Reps were torn on which way to vote.— Calais Campbell (@CalaisCampbell) February 26, 2020
“Fact: all players now have a chance to educate themselves on the proposed CBA!,” Campbell said on Twitter. “Everyone has a vote and a voice! And having just went through hours and hours of discussion...it’s not easy. Most Reps were torn on which way to vote.”
The vote to send the proposed CBA to the players was a reported 17-14 vote with one player abstaining. For the proposed CBA to be approved it will only need a simple majority (50% or more) to pass. At that point both the owners and players will be locked into a 10-year agreement.
“So I encourage all of you to get with your (player representatives) and empower yourself so you can make an informed decision. There are a lot of details in this proposal that are not in the term sheet that was leaked! I was told we have approximately two weeks before the players will vote!”
A leaked term sheet illustrated other multiple proposed changes, including:
- Minimum salary increase of $100,000 for rookie minimums, another $50,000 increase in 2021 and then $45,000 increase each year after.
- An increase in salaried player minimums of at least $90,000 in 2020, $80,000 to $105,000 in 2021, and $45,000 increase each year after.
- Limit of 16 days in padded practices, down from 28, during training camp and a limit of four joint practices if three preseason games are played.
- Active rosters increased from 53 to 55 players with gameday active rosters increased from 46 to 48 players.
- Practice squad rosters increased from 10-12 in 2020 with more protections and increased benefits for practice squad players.
While there are plenty of reasons why the proposed deal would appear good for the players on the surface, the full proposal has not been viewed by anyone but the owners and the players themselves. There are potentially more concessions the players made, or more the owners made making the decision to vote yes on a proposal in haste, risky.
“So start preparing now! Whether you like or dislike this proposal,” Campbell continued. “Your (player representatives) need to hear from you! And your voice needs to be heard with your vote!”
Each team has one NFLPA player representative on their roster, for a total of 32. For younger players it will be important for each player to go over the CBA to get a better understanding of what signing the agreement would mean. This could change the landscape of the NFL forever.