NFL Players Vote to Approve New CBA with 17-Game Schedule, Expanded Playoffs

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2020

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 01:  NFL Players' Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith attends the 3rd Annual NFL Honors at Radio City Music Hall on February 1, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

The NFL players voted in favor of the NFL owners' proposed collective bargaining agreement Sunday, meaning a 17th regular-season game and expanded playoffs are on the way in the near future.ย 

The NFLPA announced the union voted in favor of the agreement, with 1,019 voting yes and 959 players against the proposal.

"We are pleased that the players have voted to ratify the proposed new CBA, which will provide substantial benefits to all current and retired players, increase jobs, ensure continued progress on player safety, and give our fans more and better football,"ย Commissioner Roger Goodell said in the statement. "We appreciate the tireless efforts of the members of the Management Council Executive Committee and the NFLPA leadership, both of whom devoted nearly a year to detailed, good faith negotiations to reach this comprehensive, transformative agreement."

The CBA is set to run through the 2030 season, and by agreeing to it now, it ensures there will be no work stoppage following the 2020 campaign.

ESPN's Adam Schefter noted that "Now that a CBA has been agreed to, teams cannot use both the franchise tag and transition tag in this offseason (i.e. the Cowboys and Dak Prescott/Amari Cooper). Teams would have been permitted to do that if the 2020 league year had been conducted under the terms of the 2011 CBA."

After the NFL Players Association's representatives voted 17-14 in favor of putting the CBA to a vote, each of the NFL's nearly 2,000 players were afforded the opportunity to vote for or against the proposed CBA.

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Adding a 17th regular-season game was seen as the biggest obstacle in the ratification of a new CBA, but with the players now agreeing, an extra regular-season game will be played annually starting sometime in the next four years, although it won't occur during the upcoming season.

Also, the playoffs will be expanded to seven teams in each conference with only one team in each conference receiving a first-round bye beginning in 2020.

Most players seemed to be against a 17th game being added, including Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, who tweeted the following after the owners voted in favor of the CBA:

Although it may not be an ideal situation for the players, the league made several other concessions that convinced them to agree to the CBA.

Chief among them is the fact that the players will earn a larger cut of the revenue share compared to the previous CBA. Also, to offset the addition of another regular-season game, the NFL will shorten the preseason.

Other player perks include a revised drug policy that will significantly lessen punishments for positive marijuana tests, higher minimum salaries and higher spending floors for each team, which is likely to aid in the increasing of player salaries.

Also, players will have their contracts amended to account for the extra regular-season game with the addition of one game check, although the value of that game check cannot exceed $250,000.

Both the players and owners had to cut the other side some slack in order to make the new CBA a reality, but now that it is officially in place, the NFL landscape will change significantly with alterations to the regular-season and playoff schedules.