David D’Annibale, Staff Writer |
On March 15, the NFL Players Association finished voting on a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The new agreement was approved after a vote of 1019 to 959 majority. The vote was close, with approximately 500 players abstaining from the vote. The CBA will drastically change how the season unfolds, not only during games but also off the field as well.
One of the major changes, as a result of the CBA, is that the regular season will increase from 16 to 17 games. This extra game provides NFL owners an additional opportunity to create additional revenue with ticket, concessions and parking sales. The agreement will also increase the prices of television broadcasting deals. Players were against adding an extra game to the season because it means another week of risking injury. Team roster sizes will increase from 53 to 55, resulting in larger practice squads and increased salaries. Also, the new deal has shortened the preseason from four to three games. During the preseason, the number of joint practices is reduced to four, padded and full speed practices are lowered to no more than two and a half hours and the number of practices in pads can’t exceed 16. However, most of the changes presented will not take place until the 2021 season.
The CBA has also changed the playoff format. The new one will increase the number of playoff teams from 12 to 14. The number one seed from each conference will receive a bye week meaning they won’t have to play until the second round. Now, the two seed will not have a bye week and will play in the first round against the newly added seven seed. The format provides teams a higher chance at making the postseason and gives the one seed the highest chance to reach the Super Bowl. This change will be implemented at the start of the 2020 season.
The new agreement has changed the drug policy on marijuana as well. It has eliminated suspensions and reduced the penalties for players who test positive. In order to test positive, a player must have at least 150 nanograms of THC in his system. Also, the amount of random testing will decrease. Players who have been suspended in the past will have to be reinstated back into the league. One player is the Seatlle Seahawk wide receiver Josh Gordon who will attempt to make an NFL comeback after being suspended indefinitely for testing positive for marijuana during his 2019 season.
The CBA will also help players financially. Starting in 2021, players will receive 48 percent of the league’s revenue. Retired players will also benefit from the new agreement and will receive an increased pension. Despite many players such as Aaron Rodgers, Russel Wilson, and J.J Watt disapproving the deal, such as Aaron Rodgers, Russel Wilson, and J.J Watt. Only time will tell whether this agreement was something the league needed, or if the changes will only hinder the leagues longevity.