Wednesday night brought the most substantial development in months on the CBA front. The NFL’s six-team playoff structure — used since 1990 — will shift to a 14-team format, should a new CBA be finalized. Here is the latest on that process, which is gaining traction in advance of a critical stretch.
- This is not yet a done deal. NFLPA reps will participate in a key conference call Friday, and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com notes there is a fairly sizable faction that remains committed to voting no on the owners’ latest proposal (video link) because of the increase to a 17-game season and its impact on future generations of players. Only 11 of the 32 player reps must vote no to prevent the proposal from reaching the next stage.
- The projected $200MM salary cap for 2020 will likely remain, but Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets the new CBA will begin to generate bigger cap spikes in 2021.
- Negotiations have created a gray area that could affect teams with multiple high-end free agents — like the Cowboys or Titans. A new CBA being agreed to by March 18 will prevent teams from using both their franchise and transition tags — which they are permitted to do in the final year of a CBA. But with the window for tags to be applied closing March 10, teams would seemingly have the opportunity to use both tags before a new CBA is agreed upon. However, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com reports (Twitter links) teams would be prevented from using both tags this year if a deal is agreed to by March 18. This would create a strange setup where teams retroactively lose the option to use both tags, but it sounds like certain players’ free agency statuses — like Amari Cooper and Derrick Henry — will hinge on a CBA being finalized by March 18.
- Training camps will include less hitting under the owners’ latest proposal. As part of the many concessions the owners are making in hopes of enticing the players to agree to 17 games, there will be a five-day period to start training camp where no contact is permitted, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). There will also be limitations on how much hitting teams can have on consecutive camp days, per Rapoport. The 2011 CBA ended two-a-day practices; this one will move the needle further in a safety-based direction.
- The latest proposal will push the players’ side of the revenue split from 47% to 48%, with the 48% share being the minimum for each year the 16-game format remains in place, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Once the schedule moves to 17 games — at a point from 2021-23 — the players’ share spikes to 48.5%. This will mean roughly $5 billion more going to the workforce.