The NFL and its players will not have a new Collective Bargaining Agreement agreed upon by the start of the season, Tom Pelissero of the NFL reports.
That is not unexpected.
The sides met as recently as this week in Chicago, but they have no further sessions planned before the start of the season next week, according to Pelissero. NFL negotiators and those from the NFLPA could meet again “at some point” in September.
The biggest sticking point remains NFL owners’ desire to add regular-season games, with the NFLPA seeking a bigger piece of the pie without lengthening the regular season. Players are guaranteed 47 percent of total revenue under the current CBA, which is set to expire after the 2020 season.
Both sides seem to agree the league needs to cut the preseason from four games. But figuring out how to do it without losing the revenue the exhibition games generate is the challenge.
The league appears to be shifting its focus from adding to the 16-game regular season to expanding the playoffs as the NFLPA strongly has resisted the idea of more regular-season games.
The potential change would give each conference seven playoff teams while eliminating one of the two byes under the current format.
The sides have made progress on secondary issues such as current and retired player benefits, player health and safety and increased minimum salaries, according to Pelissero.
But it will take more negotiating before they reach an agreement.