The NFL and its Players Association could have a deal completed by early 2020 after making progress in negotiations, Mark Maske of the Washington Post reports. The new Collective Bargaining Agreement likely includes a 17-game regular season.
The agreement would scale back the preseason and could come with an expansion of the playoffs from 12 to 14 teams, Maske adds. (Maske also suggests that expansion of the postseason does not require the union’s approval. This conflicts with our understanding of the requirements of federal labor law, given that expanding the playoffs would amount to a sufficiently significant change in working conditions to make union approval necessary.)
Any expansion of the regular season, of course, would mean owners have made financial concessions to get players to agree. The NFLPA consistently has opposed the idea of more regular-season games, citing player safety concerns.
Maske writes that while it is unclear exactly what the concessions are, the new deal could include modifications to the rookie compensation system put in place in the 2011 labor deal.
The biggest issue likely will come in the split of the NFL’s revenue, estimated at $15 billion per season, under the salary cap system.
But the recent movement in negotiations has created optimism the sides could reach a deal by the end of the postseason. Super Bowl LIV is scheduled for Feb. 2, ending the 2019 season.
The current CBA expires after the 2020 season.