Even though the NFL voted last week to approve the current CBA proposal that is on the table, and additionally voted that if the NFLPA did not also approve it, then they would move ahead under the old CBA in advance of the start of the league year, the owners did agree to meet with the NFLPA one last time today.
That meeting is not expected to take place until this evening, and what happens after that is still unclear. The players may vote tonight, or possibly even tomorrow. Or they may not vote at all. The latest from the union is that the 32-player representative committee must approve the proposal by a simple majority before it can be passed on for a vote from the full body.
The question that remains is whether or not there will even be much of a conversation between the NFL and the NFLPA. The owners did not even vote to pass the favorable deal, which gives them a 17th regular season game and two more playoff games, by unanimous consent, and even some who did vote to approve it reportedly said they felt they gave up too much to the players.
The NFLPA’s executive council, which is the primary body that negotiated the current deal with the NFL, on Friday actually voted against passing on the proposal to the player representatives, 6-5, but that is only by recommendation, and isn’t required.
Reportedly, among the lingering concerns for players is a push for an even greater increase in the minimum salaries for players, some of whom believe it should be $1 million. It’s currently not far from half of that amount. Other concerns include an apparent cap on salary for the 17th game among higher-paid players, and lack of long-term health insurance after one’s playing career.
The really interesting thing about this whole discussion is the simple reality that a deal doesn’t have to be done. As pointed out, the current CBA does run through 2020. But the NFL wants to get a deal done now because it also has other deals to negotiate: with the television networks.
If they can lock in labor peace for the next decade, while bringing literally more football games to the table, it stands to reason that they can get more favorable contracts with that in place than they can without that.
And there are those within the NFLPA who believe that they have not played this hand well enough. It’s quite clear that the league wants to wrap this up. If they can get a little more off the top to give the league its peace in time to work on the television deals, then all the better.