When the clock struck midnight entering into Sunday morning, the fate of the next 10-years had been sealed. Voted on by NFL players after being negotiated and passed to them through their player representatives and the NFLPA.
Now, we know the results, and for better or worse the next decade of football now knows the parameters under which it will perform.
In a statement, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stated,
“We are pleased that the players have voted to ratify the proposed new CBA, which will provide substantial benefits to all current and retired players, increase jobs, ensure continued progress on player safety, and give our fans more and better football. We appreciate the tireless efforts of the members of the Management Council Executive Committee and the NFLPA leadership, both of whom devoted nearly a year to detailed, good faith negotiations to reach this comprehensive, transformative agreement.”
This means many things. And to fans, it primarily means an expanded playoff beginning this NFL season.
Sources to ESPN: NFL players voted to approve the proposed CBA, giving the NFL 10 more years of labor peace, players an increased share of revenue, former players added benefits, and the league 17-game regular seasons along with an expanded playoff field.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 15, 2020
It also means better financial situations for the majority of the players, while many at the top of the league’s earning pool will see what some consider to be minimal impacts.
The financial considerations in this new CBA have been some of the hottest topics discussed as players, fans and media alike wondered if the compensation and medical care to players during and after their playing years was sufficient. The potential of adding another regular season game and an expanded playoffs only heightened those concerns, and even led to an altering of the implied ‘take it or leave it’ deal proposed by NFL owners back in February.
While most expected the CBA to be accepted by players, these differences certainly gave room to doubt about whether the majority of the voting population would agree to the terms. And the final vote illustrated just how conflicted the league’s players seem to be about the final outcome.
The final vote: 1019 YES against 959 NO. So, very close, but a new CBA is passed and agreed to.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 15, 2020
Of course, this isn’t the end-all-be-all of deals. Items within the new CBA can be discussed, renegotiated and adjusted during the life-cycle of the deal if both sides see an issue and agree on how to properly resolve it.
For now however, it appears the next decade of NFL football has been secured, right at a time where many professional sports leagues find their operations suspended in response to the rapid spreading of the COVID-19 Coronavirus.
In fact, this ratification of the CBA could unplug the jam many teams have been waiting behind to get their biggest off-season moves off the ground. Specifically pertaining to the futures of Tampa Bay Buccaneers free-agents Shaquil Barrett and Jameis Winston.
Because of this, the team now knows they have just one franchise tag to use, instead of the two they would have had if the league moved into 2020 without a new agreement.
Bucs had been waiting for decision on CBA before adding new contracts, so could see flood of deals today, though NFL could also now move to postpone free agency and draft a bit due to coronavirus.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) March 15, 2020
Or.....this league could find itself in a similar situation as their professional counterparts, choosing to delay major operations in light of restrictions in travel and the ability to meet face-to-face, for the time being.
I would expect a delay to the start of free agency.— John Clayton (@JohnClaytonNFL) March 15, 2020
One big hurdle has been cleared ahead of the 2020 NFL Season. Now we wait to see what the next month brings, before turning our attention to see how this new decade of NFL football looks, compared to the past 100 hundred years.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this posting stated the 17-game regular season would start in 2020. The 17-game season will start in 2021, at the earliest, as reported by ESPN’s Jenna Laine.
What does a new CBA mean? A new 17-game schedule would not take effect until 2021 (at earliest). Teams like the Bucs and Cowboys won’t be able to use both the transition tag and franchise tag tomorrow. It gives cap-strapped teams like the Saints a lot more contract flexibility.— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) March 15, 2020