The NFL and the NFL Players Association have agreed to a new CBA that’ll feature a 17-game schedule and increased roster size.
The new NFL-NFLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement has hit the newswire and major changes are coming to football.
The NFL and the NFL Players Association did, in fact, come to an agreement prior to the Saturday night midnight deadline (March 15, 2020). Most importantly, the agreement means labor peace for the next decade. No strike or lockout should threaten the game at least for the foreseeable future.
17-Game Schedule, 3-Game Preseason
In terms of tangible changes, the biggest alteration comes in the schedule. A 17-week regular-season schedule will become official starting with the 2021 season, the first year of the 10-year CBA.
The owners have long-wanted an increased schedule, something the players have vigorously denied, often citing health concerns. An 18-game schedule had often been bandied about to no success. The 17-game schedule looks to be that compromise.
In addition, the preseason will be shortened to three games with Week 4 turning into a league-wide bye.
The other major change comes in the form of two more roster spots. Instead of a 53-man roster, general managers will play with 55 individuals, including to more active roster spots on gamedays (48).
Practice squads have also been increased to 14.
Instead of each conference boasting six teams apiece, now, seven teams will qualify for the tournament each season (starting with this season). Only one bye will be handed out, with the other three division winners hosting the three wild card squads.
Under these rules, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Los Angeles Rams would have made the playoffs in 2019.
The new CBA aggressively lowers the strictness via marijuana use. Instead of a four-month testing window, only a two-week window exists at the start of training camp, and number of players tested will be drastically reduced.
The deal also increases the THC level that results in a positive test. Instead of just 35 nanograms of carboxy THC per milliliter of urine, it’s moved to 150. It also reduces the penalties of a positive test.
Instead of the players raking in 47 percent of the overall revenue, they will now take in 48 percent, with the possibility of it increasing to 48.8 percent.