Jeff Pash, the league’s top in-house lawyer, addressed the status of the labor talks between the NFL and the players’ union in an interview with the Associated Press. Pash acknowledged that the teams and the players have a “shared responsibility” to the fans to work out a new deal.
Timing remains the issue. Will a deal be done before the current one expires? Or will it come in June or July, well in advance of the start of the season but at a time that infringes significantly upon the offseason program?
Pash provided nothing concrete in this regard.
“We have every incentive to get an agreement as soon as we can,” Pash said. “We’ve said, we’ve told the union, it’s been public — if there is extended uncertainty, it’s costly for both sides. It’s costly for us, and it’s costly for the players. So there is every incentive to try to reach an agreement sooner rather than later, and that’s what our focus is. Are we going to do it? I can’t guarantee that.”
Pash also made it abundantly clear that an 18-game season is coming, since two extra games apparently will help solve the financial side of the CBA conundrum.
“It’s something that both sides recognize the value of, and so both sides will work hard to incorporate it into the new agreement,” Pash said. “It’s a season that would deliver more value to the fans. It would allow a lot of growth opportunities that don’t exist with the current structure, and those growth opportunities would be beneficial for the players as well as for the clubs. There is a recognition that it is realistically an easier agreement to reach in the context of an 18-game regular season.”
In other words, it’ll help the NFL achieve its goal of feeding the players a smaller slice of a much larger pie. Even if playing two extra games per year ultimately compels the players to eat their piece of the pie through a straw.