It largely depends on who you ask when it comes to the opinion of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement proposed by the NFL owners as a result of more than 10 months of negotiation with the NFLPA. Some high-profile players have come out in opposition of the deal and several members of the media have drawn their conclusion based on these players thoughts. But do these players speak for the majority of the NFL? Are people drawing their own conclusions or only basing it off of others opinions who they follow regardless? And have these players opinions changed since the owners decided to remove the $250k cap on salaries for a 17th game for players whose contract was signed before the new CBA took affect?
Much like the aforementioned cap on salaries given for an extra game of the NFL season, a lot of the mentality behind this current deal comes from looking at a player who is in the minority in the NFL. Which player is this? A player not operating on a rookie or league-minimum salary.
Over half of the NFL has players who are under contract on a rookie or a minimum-structured salary. It is reported that this new CBA would increase both of these minimums by about 20% effective next season. In other words, this is not contingent on the 17th game being played. When the league does go to a 17th game, those players would be paid the same proportion for their extra week.
Is there a lot more about the CBA than just the raise in the league minimum and rookie salaries? Absolutely. But giving more than half the league and an enormous raise has got to be a positive for at least those players.
It is understandable that the proposed CBA looks to be highly in favor of the players as the NFLPA has not released any detailed statements about the contents of the proposal. So far, based on the information coming from the NFL, it appears that this is what each side is getting per reports:
- An extra regular-season game
- An extra two teams in the playoffs
Players: (according to nfl.com)
— 47% of annual revenue in 2020, plus around $100M in new Player Costs above current CBA for 2020
— Guaranteed 48% share of revenue in 2021, with ability to increase the percentage to 48.5% share through a media kicker which applies in any season the league plays 17 games
— Projected increase of around $5 billion to players during course of a new 10-year deal
— $100K increase in 2020 for Rookie Minimums, another $50K increase in 2021 and then $45K increase each year after
— At least $90K increase in 2020 for other minimum salaried players; $80K to $105K increase in 2021 and then $45K increase each year after
— Right to use Rookie Distribution pool to provide additional payments to players at minimum salaries to keep minimum salaries in-line with cap growth
— Increase in minimum salary benefit
— Creation of new four-year player benefit: up to an additional $1.25M in salary excluded from the cap for up to two players
— Bonus payment of 1/17 of his paragraph 5 salary up to $250K to any player whose contract runs through a season when 17 games is played
— Additional cap room per club in 2021 if 17 games is implemented and media kicker does not reach 48.5%
— Performance-based Pay increased to $8.5M in 2020 and $10M in 2021, with annual increases thereafter
— Increase average Minimum Team Cash Spending to 90% over tranches of 3-3-4 year periods
— $100K increase for ROFR Original Round Tender; $250K increase for first- and second-round Tenders for Restricted Free Agents
— Raises for Practice Squad Players to $10.5K per week; total number of 12 players increasing to 14 players, with two unlimited Accrued Seasons players
— Guaranteed Funding Rule increase to $15M per club in 2020 and to $17M in 2029
— Fifth-year Options fully guaranteed for fourth and fifth years at the time option is exercised; Amount of Option dependent on player achievement and no longer based on which slot selected in first round
— Increase in pay for all offseason activities
— Proven Performance Escalators for second-round picks; Super Escalator for rounds 2-7 in fourth year
— Gambling definitions that ensures money is included in players’ definition of All Revenue, including portions of non-football activities
Training Camp Hours
— Introduction of five-day acclimation period
— 2.5-hour limit on padded and full speed practices
— Limit time at facility during a given work day
— Limit of 16 days in pads
- No more than three consecutive days for three out of the five weeks
- No more than two consecutive days for two out of five weeks
— Three-day weekend at end of camp if 17 games is implemented
— Two days off in the first week, one day every seven thereafter
— Limit of four Joint Practices if three preseason games
Improvements to Working Conditions
— Mandated improvements to visiting team locker rooms
— Establish standards for rehabilitation facilities, training rooms and equipment for each club
— Active squad increased by one offensive lineman
— Development of improved safety metrics for fields
— Pension increase of 10%
— 401K matching contribution increased to $30K, annual increases thereafter
— Annuity increased to $110K per year; increasing by $15K every other year
— Tuition reimbursement: increases for active and former players
— Life Insurance
— HRA increased to $35K with increases thereafter of to $50K per season, with overall limit increasing from $350K to $450K
— Adding vision coverage to healthcare plan
— Injury Protection of 100% of salary up to $2.0M and Extended Injury Protection of 100% of salary up to $1.0M
— Termination Pay: Increase in mid-season signing benefit to 35% of remaining salary or two weeks salary at the applicable minimum salary amount; right to collect a second time in some instances
— Practice Squad players eligible for $5K of tuition benefits/year and 401K with $1500 match
— Retroactive increase to $550 per month for all pre-2012 vested players
— Expand pension eligibility to all former players with three credited seasons
— Establish a $50,000 HRA for vested veterans with no HRA
— Creation of new network of hospitals in each team city for former players to receive no cost physicals, preventative care, mental health counseling, and out-patient orthopedic services. Coverage of common surgeries to be phased in during course of deal.
— Clear parameters for ownership and usage of player data from sensors
— Overall reduction in on-field fines
— Reduction in club fines
— Implementation of a neutral decision-maker for most Commissioner Discipline cases
Changes to Drug Policy
— Narrows the testing window of THC from four months to two weeks at the start of training camp
— Reduces the penalties to players who test positive for THC, eliminating any game suspensions strictly for positive tests
—Reduces the number of players subjected to testing for THC
— Increases the nanogram limit from 35 to 150
— Right to be paid over a 34-week pay period vs. 17 weeks
— New workers comp process to enable easier filing for players, making injury care more accessible.
It must be noted that this information is coming from the NFL. If they were other problems to this deal which makes it unacceptable for the players, they have yet to reveal where these things come into play. As for the notion of the increase in revenue sharing only being a small amount, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the following about the subject:
If ratified by majority of players, new deal would give them the highest percentage of revenues of any American professional sport, going to 48% and eventually could climb higher than 48.5% depending on media rights. That would mean more than $5 billion in new money to players.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 26, 2020
While I am hesitant to just side with the owners, based on the information given it seems like this deal would be very good for most of the players in the NFL. For those players operating on a rookie contract or a league minimum deal, they get an immediate pay raise. It’s players who have higher contracts who would not see as much benefit when it comes to salary. But there are plenty other concessions in which the league is giving towards the players. Removing the initial cap on salaries for 17th game is another win for the players.
I’m not sure what the players are still hoping to gain out of this deal. The question that I have to ask is if team representatives are representing all of their teams or just the highest profile players? Because most of the guys in NFL locker room have a nice deal presented for them.
I believe this deal is going to be the best the NFL players are going to see either this year or next year. With league business needing to get underway, there will be no more negotiating this off-season so things will pick up for the next league year. The players are getting a pretty good chance to take advantage of the owners wanting to renew their TV rights immediately. Not to go into politics, but it has been reported the owners feel that with a booming economy now is the time to negotiate their TV rights ahead of elections this fall. If both sides have to pick up negotiations next year, I wouldn’t look for even half of the benefits for players to come into play to start.
The owners really want three things from this deal and are willing to give up a lot for it: An extra regular season game for each team , two extra playoff games, and for it to be done now. If they don’t get all three things, they’re not gonna give up nearly as much.
So what are your thoughts on what we know of this deal so far? Do you think that there’s more points were the owners are gaining things that have not been reported? Or do you think the players are so adamant against an extra game all these other things don’t matter? Make sure you vote in the poll and leave your thoughts in the comments below.
If you were an average NFL player, would you accept this CBA based on the known information?
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