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Several talking points in the new NFL/NFLPA CBA that are murky to me: Part 1

The NFL and NFLPA are trying to iron out the details to avoid another lock out after the 2020 season, but there is still plenty of work to be done.

NFL: JAN 30 Super Bowl LIV - NFLPA Press Conference Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

No one is ever going to say the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is crystal clear and not complicated reading. Just look through the 301 pages from the 2011 CBA and you will see one sentence after another written by lawyers to protect against other lawyers. Last week the NFLPA sent out a fact sheet to the players in the union outlining the many changes to the current CBA that I would assume was meant to help the players understand the new proposal.

Well, if the players understand the full ramifications of the proposal, I sure do not. I will never claim to be a CBA expert, seriously, who is, but some outlined changes are so vague. So for discussion’s sake, I will list some in this series.

They break the document into five different categories.

  • Wages/economics
  • Hours — training camp
  • Improvements to working conditions.
  • Benefit increases
  • Rights

I wish the NFLPA, or even the owners, would have gone line by line and show the differences in the past CBA to the current one. (I am pondering taking on this mammoth chore.) This would show the players and fans what was changing from the 2011 agreement compared to the current proposal. And there is the problem. Vague aspects litter the proposal. Below are some ones that really stood out to me.

Wages/economics

Creation of new 4-year player benefit: Up to an additional $1.25M in salary excluded from the cap for up to 2 players: I will assume this has something to do with a player hitting his fourth year on a contract. What is the threshold for hitting this incentive? Why is such a small amount, $2.5 million, excluded from the salary cap? What is the difference between this and the proven performance escalator? (This is for players drafted from round three to seven who play an average of at least 35% of snaps on either offense or defense for the three-year span.)

Gambling definitions that ensures money is included in players’ definition of All Revenue, including portions of non-football activities: Very curious to see how the “definitions” are worded. Will the term “gambling” only include legalized betting on NFL games, or will it also include fantasy football? Most notably the lucrative daily fantasy football market?

Hours — training camp

Introduction of 5-day acclimation period: Huh? Training camps will start being held in freezing temperatures or high altitude? Of course not. Players need time to adjust to their new surroundings away from their mansions or parents’ basement?

Practices will start out just being a stretching session for one day, while the next day they will walk a half of a mile? Come on now. NFL athletes know they have to train year round or face the possibility that someone younger, stronger, and faster will come and take their job. Rarely do you hear about a player failing to complete his conditioning test on the first day. What is the point of this?

The proposed CBA by the owners is supposed to be voted on by the players’ union in the next couple of weeks. The executive committee for the players voted against the current proposal (7-4) while the 32 team reps voted to recommend it to the players (17-14-1). Players, fans, and the talking heads of the media have been giving their spin on the proposal. Maybe the player reps have clearer information on the vague aspects that have been supplied. I for one have not chosen a side to back until the murkiness has cleared.