NFL Players Association player representatives and members of the union’s executive committee met for approximately eight hours Thursday in Los Angeles, but no decisions were made regarding the approval of a new collective bargaining agreement with the league.
The players have been discussing a new CBA proposal, negotiated over the past 10 months between the NFL and the NFLPA, that would allow the owners to expand the regular season from 16 to 17 games in exchange for various financial and other concessions ranging from reduced training camp practice time and changes to the drug and discipline policies to an increased share of league revenue going to the players. Several players, including executive committee members Richard Sherman and Russell Okung, have been outspoken in their opposition to expanding the season.
“Our player leadership spent another eight hours together today engaged in thoughtful and intense discussions,” NFLPA president Eric Winston said in a tweet. “We are committed to our process and will continue to grind until we are confident we are making the right decision for players past, present and future.”
The NFLPA requires two-thirds of its player reps to vote to approve a deal before submitting it to its full body of membership. As expected, no vote was taken Thursday. No further meetings are currently scheduled, but the expectation among those who attended Thursday’s meeting is that the players will convene again at some point to continue their discussions.
Both sides — owners and players — are hoping to reach agreement on a new CBA in time for the start of the 2020 league year, which is March 18.
Sources on both sides insisted Thursday that there was no hard-and-fast deadline, but there are changes in the new deal that both sides would like to be able to implement in time for the 2020 league year. Should March 18 come and go without further progress in negotiations, the possibility exists that those negotiations could be put off until next offseason, which would increase the possibility of a 2021 work stoppage.
The current CBA, signed in 2011, expires in March 2021.