The NFL wanted to get the new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFLPA taken care of prior to the start of the 2019 season, because they didn’t want it to become a distraction from their plans to commemorate and celebrate the league’s 100th anniversary.
That soft deadline came and went. The next one set up was the Super Bowl. While there is still time for that, it doesn’t appear likely that the negotiations toward a deal are at the stage where it could reach completion in time for two weeks from now.
The final ‘soft’ deadline being set is for the start of the new league year, and that’s significant for a number of reasons, not the least of which the number of ramifications that it has in terms of the salary cap and the tools that teams will have available to them in the final seasons of a CBA agreement. We have previously talked about the 30 percent rule and how that limits how much of a player’s contract can be restructured to create cap relief.
According to Pro Football Talk, however, there has been meaningful progress, with Mike Florio being told that a deal between the two sides is “at the 30-yard line and going in”. The source also stressed that it’s “hardly a done deal”, however, but also that both sides were eying the start of the new league year to get something done.
Earlier in the proceedings, amid reports that there was significant progress being made, both sides issued internal statements to their constituents that reminded them that important issues still remain to be discussed.
I would imagine among the issues is the report that the 17-game season—as opposed to the 17-week season, which is currently in effect, with a bye week—is among those issues being discussed. Previously, it had even been described as “likely” that the next CBA would call for the one-game expansion of the regular season, but you never know with these sorts of things.
A lot is riding on this CBA, especially for the players, who felt as though they were short-changed substantially the last time around. Guys like Ben Roethlisberger and Ramon Foster, the latter being the Pittsburgh Steelers’ union rep, will remember. They were the only team to vote against approving the last CBA.