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With NFL/NFLPA CBA discussions in trouble, is a work stoppage on the horizon?

Could the NFL and the NFLPA be staring at another lockout?

Pittsburgh Steelers vs St. Louis Rams

The NFL owners and players have been in negotiations with a new CBA and it appears the negotiations are coming to a head. The owners have stated they will not negotiate once the new league year starts on March 18th. So the clock is ticking.

On February 20th, the NFL owners agreed to the CBA in its proposed form. The acceptance is not a surprise that they passed it by better than a three-fourths majority, as it is the proposal that the owners formulated. (It was not a surprise that accepting the proposal was not unanimous.)

The NFLPA’s executive council voted 6-5 to reject the proposal in its current form when it is voted on by the full NFLPA membership later this week. Over 2,100 players are eligible to cast their votes — a simple majority of players is needed to either accept or reject the offer. Pittsburgh Steelers T.J. Watt’s older brother J.J. Watt chimed in on Twitter with his opinion on the current proposal.

Here is a list of some of the proposals.

  • Eliminate suspension for testing positive for marijuana. The league would not test all players.
  • The league would move to a 17 game regular season schedule. Such an expansion could net $1 billion dollars for the added week. (The expansion would not take any sooner than 2021.)
  • Players would receive a larger slice of the $16 billion annual pie. The players receive 47 percent — the proposal would increase to 48 percent.
  • Game day active rosters would expand from 46 to 48 and the 53-man roster would expand to 55.
  • Practice squads would increase from 10 players to 12 in 2020 and up to 14 in 2022. Two of the practice squad slots could be used for players, no matter how many accrued seasons they have. (The cap is two years.)
  • Designated players to return from injured reserve would increase from two to three.
  • Players would receive a portion of gambling revenue brought in by the league.
  • Training camp would be limited to 16 padded practices and four joint practices.
  • The preseason would be reduced to three games.
  • Commissioner Roger Goodell’s power will be curtailed especially for suspensions and fines.
  • All first round rookies will have their contracts fully guaranteed. When the fifth year option is picked up, it will also become fully guaranteed, not just for injury.
  • Postseason teams would expand by one per conference. (The second seed would no longer get a bye.)
  • Varying other aspects that I read different conflicting reports.

This is a lot to digest for even the most rabid NFL fans. Both sides are anticipating the outcome of the NFLPA vote. Shooting down the agreement could stall any negotiations until after the 2020 season. Such a delay could lead to a work stoppage. Neither side wants a work stoppage with so much at stake, especially when the league will negotiate new TV deals in 2022.

The NFL players would like a better deal than what they received in 2011 in the 301 page document. How much will they give up to get some items they really want? How much are the owners willing to concede? March 18th is quickly approaching. Can the two sides agree before the clock hits zero?


Will the NFLPA ratify the agreement proposed by the owners this week?

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  • 28%
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  • 71%
    (199 votes)
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