Sorry my headline sucks, but if you’re a fan of football, this is arguably more important news than anything else concerning your favorite team.
Because if the NFL and the NFLPA can’t work something out, there may not be any football in 2021 or beyond.
Believe me, I don’t mean to scare you, but that’s the current situation with talks concerning the new CBA. While it’s likely that both sides will get a deal done in time for the 2021 season, there’s always a chance of a lockout. I mean, we saw one as recently as 2011, even if it didn’t permeate into the regular season.
Last week, we were given some information in regards to the ongoing talks concerning the new CBA. I’d highly recommend clicking that provided link for full context of what we are about to dive into, but you do you.
In case you don’t feel like reading the article linked above, let me bullet point it for you:
- If there is a hang-up with talks, it will be centered around the fact that the NFL wants to include language that would allow the league to increase the regular season to 17 games at some point between 2021-2023. The deal also includes a reduced preseason and a measure expanding the playoffs to include more teams.
- Other items for discussion are a larger share of revenue for players, a revised drug policy, higher minimum salaries, improved player benefits, relaxed offseason and training camp workout rules.
- No hard deadline has been set. Both sides (the NFL and the NFLPA) would like to get a deal done before March 18.
- There’s a possibility that if a deal isn’t finalized before March 18, then a deal won’t be worked out until the 2021 offseason.
A week later, there has been some new information put out for us normal folk to consume.
ESPN’s Dan Graziano reported on Thursday that the NFLPA held conference calls to discuss negotiations.
This is the low-down, per Graziano:
The sources said Thursday that there are eight calls scheduled — one for each NFL division — and call-in information was distributed to every player in the league, not just the 32 team player representatives. It’s unclear how many players have participated or will participate in the calls, but the union sees this as a chance to speak to its full body of membership about the current CBA offer on the table, as well as the voting procedure by which the deal might eventually be ratified.
The hope is that the calls will give the NFLPA an idea of where its members stand on the new deal.
Ian Rappaport of NFL Network reported on Friday that NFLPA Executive Committee and player reps will meet on Thursday, February 20 in order to give the league a “final list of things they want the NFL to look at.” How the NFL reacts to said list will go along way in determining if a deal gets done before the start of the 2020 season (March 18).
Per Rappaport’s report, it doesn’t sound like its time to worry just yet, but he does stress the fact that if Thursday’s meeting doesn’t go well, then it may prevent a new deal from getting done before the 2020 season begins.
I bullet pointed the article for you, but this is literally a :45 second video clip, so you’re on your own for this one:
From NFL Now: The NFLPA executive committee and player reps have a big meeting on Thursday that could determine whether a CBA gets done this year or not. pic.twitter.com/FdOBkyc1Zr— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 14, 2020
This doesn’t come as much a surprise. Both sides have certain stipulations they’d like to see come to fruition when it comes to the new deal, but one league executive expressed the idea that there is in fact some frustration toward where things currently stand:
“We’re getting closer and closer to the new league year and nobody knows what’s going on,” a league executive told Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post. “It’s frustrating because a lot of things could change. Let’s say they drop a bomb on us March 1 and there’s a new CBA. You have less than two weeks to re-adjust everything and plan again and try and learn the new rules before going into free agency.”
Per O’Halloran’s article, the executive cites three issues that could be effected depending on how the situation unfolds:
- Franchise/Transition tags: Right now, teams are allowed to use both tags. Usually, you can only use one. This means that two separate players on one team could be tagged heading into 2020. If a new CBA is in place by March 18, then that means only one tag can be used. That could obviously have a big impact on how a team approaches free agency and/or the draft.
- Post-June 1 cut option: Usually, if a team cuts a player after June 1, it can spread the dead money over two seasons. But if there is no deal in place by March 18, then any dead money will come off the 2020 cap.
- Salary cap projection: Per O’Halloran, teams begin planning for the next season by assuming the cap will rise by about $10 million. If a new CBA features a bigger revenue split, then that could affect a team’s budget heading into 2021. Obviously more money is a good thing, but it’s still nice to know what you have going into a situation so you can make a fair evaluation of any and all potential roster moves.
Some new revelations were also provided when it comes to details of the deal:
- Fifth-year rookie salaries equal the franchise tag: This is by far and away the most interesting detail to come out. Under this proposal, if a rookie player makes the Pro Bowl in two of the first three years of their career, then the fifth-year option salary will match that of the year’s franchise tag price.
Let’s use Vernon Hargreaves III for an example, even though he won’t be on the Bucs’ roster in 2020. If he wouldn’t have been a knucklehead and stayed on the team, they would’ve owed him $9,954,000 million under the current CBA. Under the new proposal, the Bucs would’ve owed Hargreaves $16,471,000 IF he made the Pro Bowl at least twice during his first three years in the league.
Under the current CBA, rookies picked in the top-10 are given a transition tag tender for their fifth-year option, but a player picked outside of the top-10 (like Hargreaves III) works under a different formula. So you can see how there may be a large discrepancy in terms of salary under the proposed CBA.
AND if a player does in fact meet the requirement for a franchise tag-salary in their fifth year and the team decides to pay them the amount, the player will receive a 20% bump in salary if the team decides to franchise them in sixth year of their career.
Per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, it allows the players a possible “escape plan” when it comes to the fifth-year option of their rookie deal.
Let’s use Jameis Winston as an example. If he met the requirements (two Pro Bowls in first three years) then the Bucs would’ve paid him $24,865,000 in 2019 instead of $20,992,000. If the Bucs decide to franchise him in 2020, then he would receive $32,274,000 instead of the $26,895,000 he’s slated to earn in the real world.
There are rumors that Winston would be unhappy if he plays under the franchise tag in 2020 and that he wants a multi-year deal. Even though they are rumors, they work well in this instance, so let’s use them.
The extra $3,873,000 in 2019 or the extra $5,379,000 in 2020 could be the deciding factor in whether or not the Bucs want to keep Winston. If they decide to let him go and he signs a multi-year deal elsewhere, then it would in fact be the “escape plan” Florio describes in his post.
It’s important to note how rare this scenario is. Jalen Ramsey and AJ Green would be the only two rookies to accomplish this feat since the fifth-year option was introduced in 2011. So, there is some history, but at the same time, the trend points opposite of Ramsey and Green.
And I couldn’t find any details as to whether or not a being selected as a Pro Bowl “alternate” counts or not. While the thought of having Pro Bowls being the deciding factor in this is pretty “meh”, the players do need to have some kind of advantage in this deal, because odds are they will be more on the outs, than anything.
- Revised marijuana policy: Ok, so I am no expert on how this goes, so let’s start from the beginning. Under the current CBA, marijuana testing begins on April 20 (hahahaha) and ends in early August. According to Mike Florio, sources tell him the “testing window” will be reduced to two weeks, which allows players to use the product more. Players usually have a month to get clean before testing opens and they stay that way through August.
Florio also says “a new CBA also would include dramatically reduced penalties, with suspensions happening only in the event of extreme and repeated disregard of the policy or significant violations of applicable law regarding the possession and use of marijuana”.
All this means to me is that players are possibly toking up during the season and the thought of that brings a smile to my face. Players have spoken out on the benefits of the five-bladed leaf has to offer when it comes to pain relief and how it’s a better alternative to pain pills.
That’s all I could find for now, be sure to check back in for updates!!