The players may be willing to expand the regular season to 17 games, but they want to adjust the owners’ proposed window for activation, sources tell PFT’s Mike Florio. The NFL is seeking the option to implement the longer season sometime between 2021 and 2023. The players want to take 2021 off the table and push that off until 2022 or 2023.
This is, in part, due to logistical reasons. With many players contracted through 2021, and approximately 70 players under contract through 2023, those players would need to be given additional compensation on their existing deals in order to make something work. The later the start date, the easier it becomes to facilitate that.
Despite plenty of opposition to the longer season within the union, it seems as though the NFLPA is warming up to a compromise. And we’d speculate that the later start date would be more palatable to players for other reasons. For example, veterans who are in the final years of their career could be more open to the proposal if they are only facing one or two extended seasons.
We should know more about where the NFLPA stands after their meeting on Thursday, which could include a vote among union leadership. In exchange for the 17-game season, owners have reportedly some key concessions, including a revamp of the fifth-year option for first round picks, relaxed testing for marijuana, and a larger cut of league revenue.