02/20 16:11 CST NFL owners approve negotiated terms for new labor agreement
NFL owners approve negotiated terms for new labor agreement
By BARRY WILNER
AP Pro Football Writer
NEW YORK (AP) --- The NFL has put the labor ball in the players' hands.
In a somewhat surprisingly strong decision, the 32 team owners voted Thursday
to "accept the negotiated terms on the principles of a new collective
Details of that agreement were not forthcoming from any of the owners or
Commissioner Roger Goodell. They quickly scurried from a Manhattan hotel
without nothing more than "sorry, can't help you," or "I can't comment" when
asked about the proposed CBA.
Now the onus is on the players, who have a conference call Friday involving its
executive committee and player representatives. The NFL Players Association
said it would not comment Thursday on the NFL's announcement.
Such quick action by the owners indicates their eagerness to replace the
10-year labor agreement that concludes in March 2021. Several elements of a new
CBA could be implemented for the upcoming season should the players vote in
favor of it.
That, of course, is no given. Should the players vote against accepting this
proposal or seek further negotiations, the NFL has said the current agreement
would remain in place for 2020. A league statement put a deadline on acceptance
by the union, saying "since the clubs and players need to have a system in
place and know the rules that they will operate under by next week."
The league's business year begins March 18.
Among the items in that proposal, according to several people familiar with the
negotiations but speaking anonymously because they are not authorized to
release such information:
--- A 17-game schedule, which always has been a stumbling block in talks with
the NFL Players Association. More roster spots per team would be a must for the
A 17th game would preferably be played at neutral sites, which one of the
people familiar with the talks said could include non-NFL U.S. venues as well
as Europe, Mexico and Brazil.
--- A reduction of the preseason, initially from four games to three.
--- A higher share of revenues for the players; the current number is 47
percent. The cut the players would receive is dependent on the length of the
regular season, but would remain below 50 percent regardless.
---An expansion of the playoffs, something the NFL has been seeking for years.
Commissioner Roger Goodell suggested back in 2015 that increasing the
postseason field to seven teams in each conference was in the works. The owners
could unilaterally add a wild-card team in the AFC and the NFC, but are willing
to make such a move part of a new CBA.
The provisions for two more wild-card games, developed years ago, would have
only the team with the best record in each conference receiving a bye for the
first weekend of the playoffs.
There's even a chance one of those wild-card matchups would be played on a
Also being considered is a second bye week to go with a 17th game, although
almost certainly not for the 2020 season. The expansion of the playoffs easily
could occur this year, however, if a new CBA is reached.
The current labor agreement was reached in 2011 after a 4-month lockout of the
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