49ers

Players approve new NFL collective bargaining agreement through 2030

49ers

There will be labor peace in the NFL for the next decade after a simple majority of players approved the proposed collective bargaining agreement Saturday night.

The NFL Players Association announced Sunday morning that the proposed collective bargaining agreement passed by a vote of 1,019 to 959. 

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell released the following statement:

"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."

The new CBA runs through the 2030 season and will implement significant changes to the league.

The biggest change that was approved was a 17-game regular-season schedule, which will go into effect sometime between the 2021 season and 2023 season.

The 2,000 NFL players also approved the expansion of the playoffs from 12 teams to 14. Each conference will now have seven playoff teams and only the No. 1 seeds will receive a first-round bye.

The now-passed CBA had several high-profile detractors, including 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, who advised players to contact their team reps and reject the proposal.

Sherman's biggest gripe was the proposed 17th game and how it goes against the NFL's call for increased player safety.

 

“The league kind of pretends that they’re interested in it, pretends that they care about it, makes all these rules, fines all these players, but then still proposes players to play an extra game," Sherman told Pro Football Talk in January. "And not just 17. They’re really just saying 17 so that they can get to 18. And so that’s two more opportunities for players to risk their bodies, put their bodies on the line. And that’s what so ridiculous about it, and nobody calls them out. Nobody calls out the hypocrisy. I’m hoping that one day people will be brave enough to call out the hypocrisy of saying, ‘Hey, we really care about player safety, but hey we also want you to play an extra game, put your body on the line, and risk your career.”

Sherman, who serves as the 49ers player representative and a vice president on the NFLPA executive committee, declined comment Sunday morning on the players’ narrow approval of the proposed CBA when reached by NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco.

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Under the just-expired CBA, players were receiving 47 percent of all revenue. According to NFL.com, when the 17th game is added, the players' share of the revenue will increase to just 48 percent. A new TV deal for the league could bump the players' share to as much as 48.8 percent.

Lower-tier players are set to benefit from the new CBA. Rookies will see a $100,000 increase in salaries this year. Veteran minimum salaries will increase by $90,000 for the 2020 season with increases ranging from $80,000 to $105,000, depending on years of service, in 2021.

One of the big changes includes the size of rosters. Teams will now be allowed to suit up 48 players for regular-season and postseason games, up from 46 in past years. Practice squads will increase from 10 to 12 in 2020 and up to 14 beginning in 2022. Two practice squad players per week may be elevated to the active roster, essentially now making rosters increase from 53 to 55 players. A player promoted from the practice squad may be sent back down to the practice squad two times without being subject to waivers.