A new collective bargaining agreement between the NFL owners and players appears to be on the fast track to be approved, or is it?
On Thursday afternoon, the owners voted in majority to accept the agreed-upon terms by the negotiation teams for the new “CBA” for both they and the NFLPA:
Here is the memo that the NFL has accepted the terms of the new proposed CBA: pic.twitter.com/yRYZc3anSB
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 20, 2020
While the players will get an increase in minimum salary money and other concessions, the biggest changes in the new deal include a 17th regular-season game and the increase in the number of playoff teams to 14, perhaps soon as this upcoming season.
As we wrote on Wednesday when details began to leak out of the proposed agreement, this would be the first time that the NFL would increase the number of teams making the playoffs since 2002. It would also increase from four to six the number of Wildcard games that would be played on the opening weekend of a postseason in January. It will further mean that only one team (the top seed) in the NFC and the AFC would receive an opening round bye.
For the Florida teams, the Jaguars most recently made the playoffs as AFC South Champions in 2017. The Dolphins were last in the postseason as an AFC Wild Card in 2016. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers hold the dubious distinction of the longest playoff drought in the NFC, as they were last in as NFC South champs in 2007.
The players must now approve the same agreement by at least a two-thirds majority and that vote is expected to happen early next week. Owners are pushing for this to begin because the free agency and salary cap rules would be different for this March and next March. And, teams would want to plan for both.
One prominent player already put on social media that he’s not interested in the new deal that includes the 17th game of the regular season. Houston All Pro defensive tackle and former League Defensive MVP J.J. Watt made his feelings known on the new CBA proposal:
Hard no on that proposed CBA.
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) February 21, 2020
The NFLPA had a meeting with their 32 team representatives, who gave their majority approval. 2/3 of the actual over 1,900 players will have to vote in favor of the new CBA.
While the 17 game schedule would not go into effect for 2020, it appears that owners are ready to have the new playoff format for next season. It is believed the 17 game schedule would go into effect as soon as the 2021 season and regular season games with start in August with potentially a second bye week also being added to this slate.
There will obviously be more discussion on how/when all of the new scheduling, salaries, etc. go into effect if/when the NFLPA members agree next week.