By the time you read this, it’s possible that something has already happened. But I wouldn’t necessarily bet on it. The NFLPA’s player representatives were able to successfully win a majority vote that would allow them to pass on the proposal for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement already signed off on by the owners, now heading to the entire union body for a vote.
Put simply, if a majority of players who choose to vote do vote in favor of the proposal, in whatever form it is now in, then it would shortly be put into effect. It would signify that the NFL and NFLPA have agreed to terms on a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement, which should prove to be among the most significant in decades, since the formation of unrestricted free agency.
The player representatives held a four-hour meeting with league ownership yesterday evening, and then they met among themselves for several more hours before holding a late-night vote, in which they were able to get the simple majority that they needed.
Now the window opens for all dues-paying members of the union to vote on the proposal, though it’s not entirely clear how long this process may take. It could take several days, since we are talking about the possibility of thousands of people voting.
What we don’t know is whether or not there have been any alterations made to the proposal that the league owners signed off on last Thursday. Even though they did ultimately agree to the NFLPA’s request to have one final meeting yesterday before voting, the NFL had also issued a statement that the owners also decided if the union did not agree to the terms already agreed upon, they would move forward under the terms of the current CBA.
There have been little details as to what the remaining hang-ups may have been, though obviously the fact that the NFL is asking players to play 17 games in the regular season rather than 16 is something that would require a great deal of compensation. I’m sure anyone who was asked to do 1/16th more work than they signed up for would also expect to get 1/166h more money for doing it.
One possible sticking point is that they league seemingly built in a loophole in the proposal that would cap salaries for the 17th game at $250,000. While this would not affect the majority of players in the league, there are many that it would affect—namely anybody with a base salary north of $4 million.
The Steelers have around eight or nine players whom one can safely predict will be on the 2020 53-man roster who are scheduled to earn a base salary of more than $4 million, which is roughly 1/6th of the roster. If this is something that affects around 17 percent of the league, then it would be one significant enough to fight against. And many, many players making under $4 million will be making more than that in the future. Like Patrick Mahomes, who has a base salary of $735,000 in 2020.