What was once considered an issue that could potentially put regular season NFL games in jeopardy could now be solved very soon. After the NFL owners voted to approve the principal elements of a new collective bargaining agreement yesterday, the proposal will now go to the 32 team representatives of the NFL Players Association. If 2/3 of that group approves, the deal moves on to the full player pool and would require a simple majority to be ratified.
If the two sides do reach an agreement on this proposal, it would bring some massive changes to the league. Here are just a few of the impactful differences.
Expanding the pool of playoff teams will seemingly happen regardless of the players’ decision on the collective bargaining agreement as the league and owners reportedly do not consider this a topic on which the players should have input. The new playoff format would go into effect for the upcoming 2020 season and would send seven teams in each conference to the post-season. Only the top seed would earn a bye while Wild Card weekend would now feature six games. This past season, that would have resulted in the Rams and Steelers sneaking into the playoffs as seventh seeds.
Under the new proposal from the owners, a team’s roster size would increase from 53 to 55 players. The gameday active roster would be increased by one offensive lineman and the practice squad would also increase by two spots.
Many fans and players alike have had concerns with the amount of power Commissioner Roger Goodell possesses. That would change under the new collective bargaining agreement as Goodell would only oversee “integrity of the game” matters, such as Deflategate, etc.
The new deal would also include an overall reduction in on-field fines as well as club fines and bring major changes to the drug testing policy, which most agree is long overdue. The potential agreement would narrow the THC testing window to just two weeks at the start of training camp and also eliminate all game suspensions for positive tests. The number of players tested would also be reduced while the testing limits would be increased.
The owners continue to support a 17-game season and many details of the proposed collective bargaining agreement reference a potential addition like this. While player safety and the impact of such a drastic change are hot topics, this likely comes down to increased compensation for the players after adding an additional game to their typical season. The proposal does include a salary increase that would accompany a seventeenth game, but it is capped at $250,000 per player. That did not sit well with some players even before the upcoming vote.
The CBA wasn’t the only news from the past few days.
Landry Undergoes Hip Surgery
As early as late December, reports suggested Browns WR Jarvis Landry could require hip surgery that would potentially sideline him for an extended period. Landry was slowed by the hip injury all season, yet still set a new career-high with 1,174 yards. At that point just prior to the new year, Landry called the surgery a “last resort” and less than a month later, it was reported that Landry would not undergo the procedure.
Yesterday, we learned Landry did ultimately require the surgery, which took place in early February. The produced carries an expected recovery timeline of six to eight months, putting Landry’s Week One status in doubt.
Washington Releases Reed
Even in the offseason, things move fast in the NFL. Earlier this week, new Washington HC Ron Rivera confirmed that TE Jordan Reed was still in the league’s concussion protocol, even after missing the entire 2019 season. Just two days later, Reed reportedly cleared protocol and yesterday the team released the seven-year veteran. Reed’s head injury last pre-season was his seventh documented concussion as a pro, yet he reportedly plans on continuing his playing career. The move saves Washington $8.5 million. Veteran TE Vernon Davis announced his retirement earlier this offseason, making the tight end position a major area of need for the team.
The Titans are not expected to exercise the fifth-year option for WR Corey Davis. … The Lions released DT Damon Harrison, aka, “Snacks”. … The Bears signed veteran TE Demetrius Harris, who was recently released by the Browns. … Miami signed TE Michael Roberts. … Washington exercised their option on veteran RB Adrian Peterson.