It sounds like the NFL and the NFLPA continue to make progress in their CBA negotiations. ESPN’s Dan Graziano reports that the Players Association will be conducting a number of “membership-wide conference calls” between Thursday and Friday. The calls are intended to inform players about the status of the collective bargaining agreement.
There will be a call for each of the eight divisions, and every player was invited to participate (as opposed to the 32 individual team representatives). The union will provide updates about the current CBA offer, and it will likely inform the players about the voting procedures. As Graziano writes, the NFLPA requires a two-thirds vote by player representatives to proceed to the next step, when the entire league will vote. At that point, only majority is needed to pass the proposal on to the owners, and that final step requires a three-fourths vote.
The main component of the proposed 10-year CBA is the possibility of a 17-game regular season, which the NFL would want to implement between 2021 and 2023. The players are requiring a long list of concessions, including a revenue split, higher minimum contracts and a revised drug policy (among other requests). As Graziano notes, players are weighing whether the current concessions are enough to warrant a 17-game season. There’s a chance that the players could propose a counteroffer with an increased number of concessions, and there’s also the possibility that the players refuse to give in to a 17-game schedule altogether.
The current CBA doesn’t expire until March 2021, but there is a tiny bit of urgency to complete a deal. Both sides want to finalize a CBA by the start of the league year, allowing them to implement the changes immediately. The NFL is also set to begin negotiations with broadcast partners, and those partners would prefer clarity on the “labor landscape” before agreeing to a new deal.
In the seemingly unlikely event that a CBA isn’t agreed to, negotiations will extend into next offseason. That scenario “raises the possibility of a work stoppage in 2021,” as Graziano writes.