The NFL and NFL Players Association recently settled on a new collective bargaining agreement this past weekend, giving the sports world some type of reassurance during the shutdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The new CBA, which barely passed, as NFL players for the new deal won by a slight margin of 1,019 to 959, will run through the next decade (2030 season). As the both sides work to finalize the minor details (some in effect for the Fall 2020 season), here are the top 5 most important changes that the new CBA brings to the table.
– 17-Game Regular Season –
Right off the bat, adding another game to the 16-game regular season obviously changes everything about the product. It has been a topic of much controversy over the last several years, as owners have been looking for new ways to make money, while players have been apprehensive, seeing as a longer season would put them at a greater risk of injury.
A 17th game will give NFL owners one more week of revenue in the all formats, exponentially raising the amount of money earned throughout past years. Several additional questions will need to be figured out and proposed moving forward, such as:
‘Which 16 teams get the extra home game?’
‘How are matchups going to be selected?’
‘Will players be compensated correctly for an extra game in the season?’
While the 2020 regular season will take place like the current product we’re used to, we could be seeing 17-game seasons starting in 2021 (due to the negotiation of a new television broadcast deal set to take place next offseason). This will also include a preseason shift of three scrimmage games, with the fourth week of preseason turning into a bye week.
Our statement on the CBA vote: pic.twitter.com/3pXydLLQ9c
— NFLPA (@NFLPA) March 15, 2020
– Adding Two Teams to the Postseason –
Starting this season, the playoff field will expand from six teams per conference to seven, with only the top seed in each conference earning a bye week. The #2 seed will play the #7 seed during Wild Card Weekend (The Rams and Steelers would have both made the playoffs last year and would have faced the Packers and Chiefs respectively in the Wild Card round.)
– Drug Policy Changes –
The new CBA significantly relaxes the rules on drug testing with regards to marijuana by narrowing the window for testing and reducing the number of players who are subjected to testing. The deal also increases the level of THC that qualifies as a positive test while also reducing penalties, including the elimination of suspensions for players who test positive.
– Roster Size –
The new deal will expand the size of NFL rosters from 53 players to 55, while allowing two additional players to be active on game days. Practice squads will also be larger, and compensation will increase for practice-squad players. While there has not been a definite number, it sounds like we could see up to 14 players per team, each making $10,500 per week (an increase of $2,500 from years prior).
– Split Revenue –
According to an NFLPA document that was released prior to the deal being finished, the new deal would state: “Under the new CBA, players are guaranteed to receive 48% of the league’s overall revenue beginning in 2021, with the ability to increase that share to 48.8% ‘through a media kicker which applies in any season the league plays 17 games,’ according to an NFLPA fact sheet that was released before the deal was finalized.”
The previous CBA, which was approved in 2011, guaranteed players 47% of revenue. While it is a step in the right direction, I’m sure players would like to see that number climb closer to 50% in future deals.
While the Coronavirus pandemic seems to be shutting most of the world down, the NFL is just starting to ramp up. Make sure to keep checking back for articles related to the tampering period, NFL Free Agency, trade talks, NFL Draft Content, and much more.