Here is what we know about where the current Collective Bargaining Agreement proposal stands. A week ago today, the owners voted, without unanimity, to approve the proposal that had been negotiated between the NFL and the NFLPA over the course of the past 10 months.
While they also approved at the same time a motion stating that they would not further negotiate, making the argument that teams needed to know in time under which rules they would be operating at the start of the new league year, they did agree to a final meeting with NFLPA representatives on Tuesday.
During that four-hour meeting, it appears as though they did make some small concessions, which did not rise to the level of requiring the owners to hold another vote to approve the changes. The NFLPA player representatives then voted at 1 in the morning to pass the vote on to the full union body—doing so by a very narrow margin.
It will now take weeks for the voting process to unfold. Were the 11th-hour concessions on the owners’ part enough? According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the following is what they decided that they were willing to concede in the hopes of getting the CBA approved:
Per a league source, the league agreed: (1) to remove the $250,000 cap for players who play a 17th game in a season when they’re already under contract; (2) to give players 48.5 percent of the revenue in any season during which 17 games are played, regardless of the so-called “media kicker” that tied 17 games to a specific revenue goal; and (3) to jointly study strategies for reducing the offseason program during seasons that result in the playing of 17 games.
The league’s original proposal included a loophole that was quickly exposed that capped player earnings for the 17th game at $250,000. For any player earning more than $4 million in a season, they would be being shortchanged based on standard proration.
The rise in revenue sharing to 48.5 percent had previously been tied, as mentioned, to the league securing a certain threshold in their future television network deals. If they did not reach the target they were shooting for, it would have stood at 48 percent, which is still a rise of one percent from where it currently sits.
While the league has agreed to drop the fourth preseason game, which will give teams a longer period of time between the end of the preseason and the start of the regular season, they are not adding a second bye week, so teams will have a longer stretch of time at some point in the year without a break.
One thing that apparently was not further addressed or clarified was the NFLPA’s desire to see improvements in workplace conditions, including things like on-site medical equipment. The Pittsburgh Steelers alone had to deal with an inadequate x-ray machine and a stretcher that stalled on the field over the past two seasons. Making these improvements should be comparatively cheap, and frankly it’s a shame that the matter would even have to be collectively bargained.