NFL players approve proposed CBA: Longer season, expanded playoffs amongst changes

The NFL Players Association voted to approve the new CBA, effective 2021. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Following a vote by the players, the proposed Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the NFL and NFL Players Association (NFLPA) has been approved.

The new CBA, which will go into effect for the 2021 season, needed a simple majority of the 2,500 player-voters to pass and will last through the 2030 season, ensuring 10 more years of labor peace.

It was a split decision as one will find in these situations, however. 

“NFL players have voted to approve ratification of a new collective bargaining agreement by a vote tally of 1,019 to 959,” the NFLPA released in a statement. “This result comes after a long and democratic process in accordance with our constitution.”

If the proposed deal was denied by the NFLPA, there was a legitimate threat of a work stoppage in 2021 after the current CBA expires at the end of the 2020 season.

There have been six strikes or lockouts in the NFL dating back to 1968. Only two of them (1982, 1987) affected regular-season play.

With its passing comes sweeping changes throughout the league that changes the landscape of the league.

The largest tweaks come in the form of the playing schedule as the regular season will increase from 16 games to 17 while the preseason slate is reduced to three games. 

In the postseason, an extra team from each conference will be added to the field, expanding the playoff field from 12 teams to 14. That’s seven teams per conference. 

That means only the No. 1 seed in each conference will get a bye week in the Wild Card Round, ensuring there will be six games played during the first weekend of the playoffs.

Players will be compensated for the expanded season and playoff system as their total revenue will go up from 47% to 48.5%.

The league will also reduce penalties to players who test positive for marijuana, eliminating game suspensions.

Cannabis has long been pointed to as a safer alternative than addictive opioids when it comes to managing pain. 

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