CBA Notes: Cap, NFLPA, Schedule, TV Deals

During what has become a layered process — featuring owners on board with the CBA, owners believing too many concessions are included, NFLPA senior reps voting yes and the other union executive committee members holding out for more — an interesting point emerged. Depending on the structure of the next round of TV contracts, Albert Breer of notes the cap could rise to nearly $300MM within three years. That would be a staggering increase, compared to the recent run of approximately $10MM-per-year spikes. This year’s cap is projected to come in around $200MM. The prospect of the cap spiking this high so soon would certainly be an incentive for players to green-light this CBA, though many issues remain going into Tuesday’s meeting.

As the NFLPA and the league’s owners prepare to huddle up for a crucial summit in Indianapolis, here is the latest on where the CBA negotiations stand:

  • While all 32 player reps and all 11 members of the NFLPA’s executive committee are believed to be in Indianapolis, a smaller group — fronted by NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and NFLPA president Eric Winston — will meet with Roger Goodell and a handful of owners, per Ben Volin of the Boston Globe (on Twitter). The 11-man executive committee has not been together for in-person negotiations since last summer, so this meeting figures to be one of the seminal chapters of these CBA talks. The NFLPA will attempt to see if one or two more sweeteners can be added to the deal in exchange for a 17-game season, Ian Rapoport of notes (video link).
  • Some owners, however, did not want to go forward with this deal, believing they have over-sweetened it for the players, per Breer. While some owners still wanted to hold out for 18 games — a subject players deemed a non-starter months ago — others against this CBA proposal voiced concerns from coaches centered around the reduction in practice time. The 2011 CBA reduced offseason work and eliminated two-a-day practices. This one will further minimize work time and contact — in exchange for the extra regular-season game.
  • The prospect of a deadline for these talks is fluid. Some within the NFLPA believe the owners would try to move forward with the TV contracts without a CBA in place, per Breer, while Dan Graziano of notes others within the union believe there is no urgency to make a deal now. The 2011 CBA expires in March 2021, but player fears owners would hold a work stoppage over their heads come 2021 have surfaced.
  • Both Smith and Winston are on board with this CBA, believing they’ve fought to get the owners to cave on numerous issues, Breer adds. While the $250K cap on 18th-week earnings has rankled many, the owners’ initial proposal included nothing for Game 17. This issue would seemingly be minimized once player contracts are constructed for a 17-game season, but for existing deals, NFLPA members who are currently against this CBA have made this a major issue. It figures to come up on Tuesday.
  • As for how the 17th game would be structured with regards to the schedule format, the rumored concept of 16 neutral-site games appears unlikely. Packers president Mark Murphy said (via the Washington Post’s Mark Maske, on Twitter) the likely arrangement will feature one conference’s 16 teams having an extra home game one year and the other conference’s 16 having nine home games the next. The 17th game is also likely to be a fifth interconference contest, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes.
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