A vote on the proposed collective bargaining agreement will go to the full membership of the NFL Players Association, even if player reps vote not to recommend approval, sources told ESPN’s Dan Graziano on Friday.
A simple majority of the membership would be required to approve the CBA. Anyone who paid NFLPA dues during the 2019-20 league year — an estimated 2,100 players — is eligible to vote.
The NFLPA’s executive council voted 6-5 not to recommend the proposal, as first reported by NFL Network and confirmed by ESPN. But sources said the originally scheduled conference call with the player reps was proceeding as scheduled at 1 p.m. ET Friday and that it remained possible that a body of 32 players still could vote to recommend the deal to the full membership.
Sources told Graziano that there has been a discussion among union leaders and union lawyers on this point for several days, and they settled on having a full vote regardless of the recommendation of player reps.
On Thursday, owners approved the CBA, with more than the required three-fourths of the owners voting to ratify.
According to an NFLPA memo released Thursday, here are some of the proposal’s key terms that player reps and the union’s executive council will weigh when they meet:
• The elimination of any game suspensions strictly for positive marijuana tests.
• A reduction in the number of players subjected to testing for marijuana.
• “Gambling definitions” that ensure players receive a portion of gambling revenue brought in by the league.
• Alterations to training camp, including the “introduction to a 5-day acclimation period,” a limit of 16 days in pads and a limit of four joint practices in a three-preseason-games scenario.
Sources also told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the proposal includes a game-day roster increase from 46 players to 48, with overall rosters going from 53 to 55.
Teams would also be allowed to bring back three players from injured reserve each season, sources said, and practice squads would grow from 10 players last season to 12 in 2020 and 14 in 2022.
Sources previously told ESPN that the proposed CBA would allow the league to expand the regular season from 16 games to 17 at some point in the next four years (although no sooner than 2021) in exchange for financial and other concessions the players have sought in negotiations. One concession is that the preseason would be shortened, sources said.
In addition, sources said that, starting in 2020, the playoff field would be expanded to seven teams from each conference, with only one team from each conference receiving a first-round bye as opposed to the two that currently do.
The league’s desire to expand the regular season has been met with harsh opposition from many players, who view an expanded season as an unnecessary increase in the risk to players’ health and safety. But union leaders have touted to players the benefits of the proposed new deal, which includes a higher percentage of league revenue going to players, improvements in the drug policy and discipline policy, higher minimum salaries, higher per-team spending floors, and relaxed offseason work rules — which were noted in the NFLPA memo.