Player representatives for all 32 NFL teams met to discuss upcoming negotiations with the owners for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. According to ESPN’s Dan Graziano, there were several key areas to report from the meeting.
2. Still some hard-line player reps who oppose 17 games under any circumstances, but plan is to engage in further discussion with owners, express specific concerns about 17 and see what if any adjustments could be made to make it more palatable for players.— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) February 7, 2020
4. Current proposal does not automatically expand the season from 16 to 17 but gives league the OPTION to do so at some point between '21 and '23. Might help players to have an exact trigger date so they can prepare for it, negotiate contracts accordingly, etc.— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) February 7, 2020
6. Both sides would like to get the new deal in place in time for the start of the 2020 league year. The new 10-year deal would replace the final year of the current deal and would run from now through 2029, IF it’s approved in time for the March 18 start of the 2020 league year.— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) February 7, 2020
With players percentage of the revenue going up and a potential to go even higher depending on the new TV deal, it appears to be the biggest issue between the players and owners is a proposed 17-game schedule. As Graziano reported, there are some players who are not willing to except playing an extra game under any circumstances. But what ultimately may come down to this issue for the new CBA is the owners outlining a more precise plan.
Based on this report, it seems the players and owners are not nearly as far apart as they were during the lockout of 2011. While it is positive to see a report coming from yesterday‘s meetings with player reps, the heart and soul of a new CBA will come when the NFLPA and owners meet together. With both sides having a desire to get a new deal in place before the new league year starts on March 18, 2020, a report of the sides meeting as early as next week is definitely a step in the right direction.
Now that both sides are aware of what the other is looking for, realistic negotiations are ready to take place. With the owners knowing they will have to give a little in some way to expand the NFL season by a game, it will be interesting to see what they offer as a concession. Will they push out the date of implementation in order for players to better prepare? Will they offer something else in return for the players to agree to the deal? With many other issues seeming to fall lower on the spectrum of importance, what the players gain in return for the 17th game will most likely decide if a new Collective Bargaining Agreement will be reached before the new league year.
As for the Steelers, it is no secret that a new CBA for 2020 would help them conduct business as the “30% rule” for contracts this year would be eliminated. With the team able to do more restructures, there would be a greater chance of retaining players and would help to give other veterans going into the last year their contract, such as Cameron Heyward, a contract extension.
While the players and owners would both like a new deal for the 2020 league year, how much are they each willing to compromise to get a new agreement in place? Since their backs are not up against the wall with another year remaining on the current CBA, the level of compromise will ultimately determine if a deal can be reached or if one side will dig their heels in and go at it again next year.
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