Labor negotiations between the NFL and its Players Association are currently tense, as players have publicly criticized a proposal that NFL owners have sent their way as the traditional work week comes to an end.
According to ESPN’s reporting, the concessions owners are seeking are substantial, including additional regular season games with an altered pay model for that final game.
Sources previously told ESPN that the proposed CBA would allow the league to expand the regular season from 16 games to 17 at some point in the next four years (although no sooner than 2021) in exchange for financial and other concessions the players have sought in negotiations. One concession is that the preseason would be shortened, sources said.
In addition, sources said that starting in 2020, the playoff field would be expanded to seven teams from each conference, with only one team from each conference receiving a first-round bye as opposed to the two that currently do.
Players generally see extra regular season games as an increased injury risk, and there are other asks from the proposed CBA as well, including ending suspensions for positive marijuana and limiting testing for said drug. There’s also some language in there that defines gambling and how players get a piece of potential gambling revenue the league institutes. Roster limit changes are proposed as well.
Sources also told ESPN’s Schefter that the proposal includes a game-day roster increase from 46 players to 48, with overall rosters going from 53 to 55.
Teams would also be allowed to bring back three players from injured reserve each season, sources said, and practice squads would grow from 10 players last season to 12 in 2020 and 14 in 2022.
On Friday, the NFLPA’s executive committee voted against recommending the CBA proposal sent along by owners.
The NFLPA executive committee voted 6-5 NOT to recommend the current CBA proposal, source said. That is simply a recommendation, though. It now goes to the 32-man board of representatives.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) February 21, 2020
As many noted, the proposal would still go to all members for a vote. But as the day went on it became clear that a vote would not be happening on Friday.
Sources say they hope they can continue to negotiate. We’ll see what the league has to say. https://t.co/obWVe1Yeo7
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) February 21, 2020
There’s a lot of hearsay going on here, and owners leaking information to reporters are clearly attempting to influence how players weigh the proposal and whether there’s room for negotiation.
Here’s the full NFL CBA proposal fact sheet sent out to players and agents tonight pic.twitter.com/QUtSbvN02C
— Master (@MasterTes) February 21, 2020
But word of the leaked CBA saw plenty of outrage from players, including a “hard no” from Houston Texans defender J.J. Watt on Thursday.
Hard no on that proposed CBA.
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) February 21, 2020
🙋🏾♂️ The NFL makes a lot of money off playoff games. Why don’t they increase that playoff check!!!?? Those TV contract are💰💰💰💰💰 https://t.co/IvvQYdYjGO
— Jerry hughes Jr (@Iam_jerryhughes) February 21, 2020
Leadership! I am with you! Please communicate with your team rep. https://t.co/JucZbwqoa2
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) February 21, 2020
48-48.5% split (roughly) between 1,700 players. 52-51.5% split among 31 owners?!…Yet this equation is supposed to make sense.🤷🏻♂️ Not to mention the .5% only happens if we agree to an extra game a season. #KnowYourWorth https://t.co/v1jNZG7ml9
— David Bakhtiari (@DavidBakhtiari) February 20, 2020
Roger Goodell has the best healthcare in football and makes QB money.
— Russell Okung (@RussellOkung) February 21, 2020
Friday afternoon brought official word that both sides would meet again before there’s any official vote of the more than 2,100 players in the NFLPA.
Our statement on today's collective bargaining meeting: pic.twitter.com/MVOODW65fV
— NFLPA (@NFLPA) February 21, 2020
Labor negotiations involve a whole lot of back-and-forth, and you never want to assume you know what will happen until the ink is dried on something agreed to by both sides. But for Jarvis Landry of the Cleveland Browns, fans might want to prepare for the possibility that there only will be one football league playing games, and it’s not the NFL.
Look like y’all better start getting y’all XFL tv packages together!!
— Jarvis Juice Landry (@God_Son80) February 21, 2020
We won’t officially know what the NFLPA says about the proposal until Monday now, but it’s looking like players will have a very interesting weekend of weighing the owners demands ahead.