Latest On CBA, 17-Game Season

This week will provide a telling sign as to how close a new collective bargaining agreement is to being finalized, with NFLPA reps meeting Thursday in Miami. But a key revelation emerged recently on the prospect of a 17-game season.

While the addition of an extra game is not yet finalized, it is generally assumed that major change will be included in the next CBA. However, the 2020 season will remain at 16 games, Albert Breer of SI.com reports, adding that “significant progress” has occurred toward the finalization of a new CBA. No deal is imminent, but the NFLPA has members of its voting board on standby — a good sign of the progress made in recent weeks. The talks are unfolding under the premise a 17-game schedule will be agreed upon, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk adds.

We heard earlier this month a new CBA could mean a delayed move to 17 games, but even with that being stalled until the 2021 season may not work for players. Little support exists from the current labor force for an extra game. The owners certainly anticipated this, having been willing for months to provide certain concessions to entice the players to adjust the schedule length for the first time since 1978.

The owners have upped their revenue-split offer, but Breer adds that the players seek a split of at least 48%. The owners’ latest proposal pushed the split close to that threshold.

When I talk to the guys, I don’t think many people want to do it,” said Calais Campbell, the Jaguars’ union rep (via Jenna Laine and Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com). “Really, you talk to guys and I don’t think anybody wants to do it. It’s going to be very, very tough. I know the ownership’s really hard on it.

“We’re definitely talking, trying to figure out what we need to do, how we can make this thing work. It’s going to be a process, but 17 [games], that’s very tough.”

One player’s opinion may matter more than others’, with Russell Okung running for NFLPA president. The election to replace Eric Winston, who is in his final weeks in this role, is set for March. Okung is against the 17-game schedule. A few powerful owners want the agreement completed now, per Breer. The prospect of restarting negotiations with a new NFLPA president appears to be igniting the owners. But it remains to be seen what more they will offer the players to agree to a new deal soon.

A 17-game schedule is expected to feature two byes and a neutral-site 17th game. It is not known how the league plans to organize the new schedule or whether the extra game will be against a conference or non-conference opponent. But some owners expressed confidence recently that the 17th game will happen.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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9 comments on “Latest On CBA, 17-Game Season

  1. crosseyedlemon

    Just another bad idea. Neither teams nor fans need two bye weeks in the first 8 weeks of the season like they had in 1993.

    • walshanater

      Where in the world did you get 2 bye weeks in the first 8 weeks of the season? Your 2 bye weeks would be split up from weeks 5 to 17.

      • crosseyedlemon

        That would certainly make more sense than what existed in 1993 but the article states nothing related to the schedule has even been decided at this point.

  2. Paul1989

    Take what that tool Florio says with a grain of salt. Generally he just runs his mouth because he likes the sound of his own voice.

  3. Rich

    Should the 17th game become a reality, I’d like to see it be a conference game. Specifically a prior year place of finish against the division being played in full. That is to say if NFC East is Playing NFC North in full, the 17th game would be NE1 vs NN1, NE2 vs NN2 etc.

    It would help roll the 17th game matchups somewhat and avoid weird 1v3,2v3 etc match ups.

  4. RockHauler

    I for one am totally for the addition of the 17th game. It’s become a joke what has happened in the last 10 years. Yes I understand it’s about making the game safer and I agree with that. But 10 years ago, players played in all 4 preseason games, generally using the 3rd one as a dress rehearsal for the regular season, and playing sparingly in the 4th. Now a majority of the players don’t play at all in the preseason and once the season starts takes 2-3 games to get into ‘football’ shape. Plus the season ticket holders are forced to buy the 2 home preseason games at regular season prices to watch the guys who will never make your team vs the guys who will never make their team contest.
    My solution? Take the preseason down to 2 games. Add in the additional bye week, but make sure they are spread out for players to get the proper break for their bodies. (So don’t give a team it’s bye weeks in week 4 and then in week 8). Take the player’s salary and add 1/16th to it so they are compensated for the extra week and everyone is happy.

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