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Proposal for 17-game regular season includes three preseason games

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Peter King and Mike Florio look at the little downside NFL owners face with an upcoming 17-game NFL season.

NFL owners will vote on approving a 17-game regular season schedule for the 2021 season at this week’s league meetings and there’s little suspense over which way that vote will go.

Ever since the league secured the right to expand the regular season, it has been a matter of when rather than if the league would choose to add another week of games to the slate. The league’s new TV deals were negotiated to include a Week 18 doubleheader on ESPN, which joins Steelers president Art Rooney II’s comments from last week as evidence of where the league is going.

The size of the preseason was less certain. A reduction from four games was coming because the Collective Bargaining Agreement only allows for 20 games between the regular season and playoffs. There was question if the league would go to two or three preseason games, but it has now been answered.

Rooney said last week that they’d be playing three games and Tom Pelissero of NFL Media reports that the resolution that owners will vote on includes a provision for three preseason contests.

Albert Breer of SI.com reports those games will be scheduled so that there are no games in the week before final cuts and Labor Day, which is a departure from past years when teams have wrapped up the exhibition season a couple of days before making cuts.