NFL owners voted to approve the new CBA proposal on Friday, setting up a player vote that could finalize the deal that would include significant changes to the league.
The proposal reportedly includes a new playoff structure in 2020-21 that would change the postseason for the first time since 2002. Both conferences would gain a seventh playoff spot, setting up a six-game slate for Wild Card weekend. Additionally, only the top seed in both conferences would receive a bye week, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
In addition to the playoff changes, the preseason and regular season schedules could soon see alterations if the players accept the deal. The preseason would drop to three games, while the regular season would move to a 17-game schedule — though those changes wouldn't take place until at least 2021-22, according to Schefter.
With a longer schedule, roster size would also change. Schefter reported that teams would activate 48 players on gameday instead of 46, and overall rosters extend to 55 players from 53. Additionally, practice squad numbers would be increased to 12 layers this year and 14 in 2022. Currently, practice squads are 10 players.
Another key component of this deal is the revenue split between players and owners.
Under the current deal, which began in 2011 and expires after the 2020-21 season, players receive 47% of total revenue.
The new proposal gives players a 48% share for a 16 game season, and a 48.5% split if and when the regular-season schedule goes to 17 games, moving $5 billion of revenue to the players, according to Schefter.
"Following more than ten months of intensive and thorough negotiations, the NFL players and clubs have jointly developed a comprehensive set of new and revised terms that will transform the future of the game, provide for players — past, present and future — both on and off the field, and ensure that the NFL's second century is even better and more exciting for the fans," the NFL said in a statement Thursday.
Last month, NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said that a two-year strike might be necessary for the players to get what they're looking for in negotiations.
After Thursday's owners' vote — which wasn't unanimous, according to Schefter — the players association's vote could put the new proposal in place until 2029.
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