Although Friday’s events dealt a blow to this CBA passing by March 18, NFL ownership has agreed to meet with the union at the Combine next week, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). The meeting will take place Tuesday night in Indianapolis.
After the union’s executive committee voted 6-5 against the owners’ CBA proposal, the NFLPA board revealed it would not hold its vote on the measure Friday. However, the board will vote Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, Graziano adds. If two-thirds of the player representatives vote yes, the owners’ proposal goes to the entire union body. If a simple majority vote in favor of it at that point, the NFL will have a new CBA.
An interesting wrinkle to these negotiations: the NFL potentially pushing the 2020 league year back from March 18 to a later date in order to wrap up this process, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com reports (video link). Delaying the league year would postpone free agency. The legal tampering period begins March 16; free agents are able to sign deals with other teams on the 18th.
NFL teams want an answer on the CBA by next week, when teams can begin applying franchise and transition tags. If the 2011 CBA remains in place by then, teams can use both transition and franchise tags in a final-league-year special circumstance. This would impact a few marquee free agents.
A new CBA represents one of the key offseason pieces for ownership. The other part of the equation, the upcoming negotiations for new TV deals, is likely contingent on the NFL being able to sell 10 more years’ worth of labor piece. If ratified before the start of the 2020 league year, this CBA agreement would run through the 2029 season. After Friday’s development, some key hurdles remain. But with the NFL’s desire to have a new deal in place before the new league year, it seems unlikely owners would not be open to more negotiations — despite earlier reports of this week’s proposal being a take-it-or-leave it offer.