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Proposal would pay minimum-salary players at least $90,000 more in 2020

Mike Florio and Chris Simms look at the wide-ranging impact of expanding the regular season and playoffs in the NFL.

One aspect of the proposed new Collective Bargaining Agreement that is sure to be embraced by the league’s lowest-paid players is a significant pay bump this year.

The union distributed a fact sheet about the new CBA to all players on Thursday, and one of the concessions the union said it received from the owners was an increase of “at least” $90,000 for all current players who make the league minimum in 2020.

For example, a player who was a rookie in 2019 and is currently slated to make the second-year player minimum salary of $585,000 would instead make at least $675,000 in 2020 if the players approve the new deal.

That’s a significant increase, and it’s money that comes immediately if the players agree to the owners’ proposal. There’s some sentiment among the players to reject the owners’ proposal and try to get a better deal in 2021, but if you’re a minimum-salary player, there’s a big risk to going down that road: You’re turning down a $90,000 raise now, and for all you know you’re going to get cut a year from now and never benefit from whatever better deal the union might be able to get next year.

Although a few high-profile players, like J.J. Watt, have spoken out against the deal, it’s important to remember that highly paid stars like Watt are a very small minority of the union membership. Many NFL players have short careers and can’t afford to turn down money now for the possibility of more money down the road. And those players all get a vote on whether or not to accept the owners’ offer.