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Report: Some NFL Owners Want Latest CBA Proposal to Fail, Pushing 18-Game Season

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2020

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - JANUARY 19: The NFL 100 year anniversary logo is seen on the field before the AFC Championship Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tennessee Titans at Arrowhead Stadium on January 19, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
Peter Aiken/Getty Images

Some NFL owners reportedly hope members of the players association vote against the proposed collective bargaining agreement so they can return to the negotiating table with an eye toward an 18-game regular season.

"They think they can get a better deal next year," a source told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler for a report published Saturday. "They feel they gave up too much on the economics."

The CBA offer gives ownership the option to increase the regular season by one game, from 16 to 17, starting in 2021.

It was formally sent to NFLPA membership Thursday, with players given one week to cast their votes, per Jeff Darlington of ESPN.

Several of the league's high-profile players have said they are going to vote against the deal.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the team's players association representative, said Friday on ESPN Wisconsin's Wilde and Tausch there's "not a lot of critical thinking going on" and suggested his teammates weren't taking the time to study the details:

"That's probably the most disheartening thing. This is a society we live in now that's so distracted by the swiping world of apps and social media. I don't know. Do guys really care about this stuff? Unfortunately, or fortunately—however you look at it—for the people wanting to push this deal through so badly, that's kind of a win because nobody's critically looking at this or thinking about it. They're just like, 'Oh, what's my salary going to be? Oh, OK, cool.' Not like, 'Are we taking care of former players? What kind of additional player risks are we taking on? What are we getting in return for that?'"

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said he'll vote in favor of the new deal because it addresses a "vast majority" of issues raised by the players and increased the union's percentage of revenue sharing:

trey wingo @wingoz

Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is a yes on the proposed CBA https://t.co/kmmZWPaCoN

As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk described, it's important to note a timely report suggesting the owners would aim for another regular-season game and fewer financial concessions if talks are restarted could certainly be viewed as a "not-so-subtle threat" while players are casting their ballots.

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith told reporters in late February he's confident the deal will pass because the NFLPA made a major effort to help the league's "core players," the estimated 60 percent who'll be helped by an increase in the minimum salary:

"Man, democracy is messy. And when you urge players to become part of a union, when you decide instead of having sort of a bubble that excludes people, that you want people not only to become involved in your union but become reps in the union, to take leadership roles in your union, how could you ever take a position that you have some sort of adverse effect if they express their feelings, right? Can you imagine a role where you go through this whole thing and nobody cared?"

The current CBA runs through the 2020 season, which gives the sides another year to hammer out an agreement if the proposal is voted down next week.

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