Even though all of the negotiating is already done, we have still seen plenty of covert back and forth between the NFL narrative and the NFLPA narrative over the Collective Bargaining Agreement proposal that is currently being voted on by the union as we speak, with voting running through the end of Thursday night.
While the owners were quick to approve it on their end, hoping to lock in labor peace for the next 11 years as they embark on a new set of television deals that would flood billions more dollars into the league pool annually, this was done so more out of prudence than of a great fondness for the deal.
When it was first reported that the owners had approved the deal, it was simultaneously reported that the vote was not unanimous, and that even some who had voted to approve the deal were not particularly in favor of it. This is in spite of the fact that most outside observers agree the league has, yet again, come out ahead.
A report came out yesterday that, in fact, there is a small group of owners who would actually like to see the union vote down the CBA. Jeremy Fowler quotes a source for his ESPN article as saying of these owners, “they think they can get a better deal next year”, and that “they feel they gave up too much on the economics”.
The thing is, a number of players also believe they can get a better deal for their side in 2021. As a quick reminder, the current CBA runs through the 2020 season, so there is no jeopardy of a work stoppage for at least another 18 months.
As far as the economics goes, the revenue share currently remains at a 53/47 split, but when the league expands to a 17-game season, it would increase to 48.5 percent for the players’ share, with the possibility of going as high as 48.8 percent. For perspective, this is still lower than what they had in the pre-2011 CBA.
One thing we could see if the players vote down the current CBA is the owners pushing instead for an 18-game schedule, which is something that they have been talking about for decades at this point. The current proposal specifies that an 18-game schedule would not be discussed until after the deal runs out.
Fowler cites some other ‘issues’ that some owners have with the current deal, some of which make me raise my eyebrows. Some owners do not like the expansion of the gameday active roster from 46 to 48 players, the increase in practice squad numbers from 10 to (eventually) 14, and the lack of a salary cap for individual salaries (i.e. a limit for how much a quarterback could demand).