This current NFL off-season has been hectic with big-name free agents getting moved around to different teams. On top of this, the NFL Players Association has agreed to some extensive League changes in their recently signed Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
These changes extend from the 2020 NFL season all the way to 2030 and are causing debate among players. Of the changes made in the new CBA, the most notable of them is the extension of the Playoffs from 12 to 14 teams and the regular season from 16 to 17 games.
With this, there is certainly controversy from players as a longer season can be physically draining and may result in more injuries. Consequently, some players have vocalized their concerns with this agreement and taken to Twitter.
Although many of the players upset with this agreement have dealt with injury or have been in the League for a while, they pose valid concerns as this agreement may limit the number of years players are in the League.
Looking into the 2020 season and beyond, this revised regular season and playoff structure should have many implications. First off, with more games and playoff seeds, there should be more competition towards the end of the season with more teams fighting to make the playoffs.
By now having three Wild Card spots in each conference, teams in stacked Divisions will now have more of an opportunity to make it to the postseason. Although the CBA won’t be in complete effect until 2021, this altered Playoff structure for 2020 and beyond should change the pace-of-play in the latter half of the season.
As there has been some uncertainty among players about this agreement, the CBA has also included some compensatory additions to help sway players. For example, in order to help account for an additional regular season game, teams will now play one less pre-season game with a bye-week instead.
Additionally, players’ salaries will be increased to account for the 17th regular season game and the minimum player salary will be increased from $510,000 to $1M by 2029.
Although there is still a concern for more injuries, vested veterans (with at least 4 full seasons of play) are now allowed up to 5 absences in off-season workouts without losing their bonus. Also, the League has finally decided to be more lax on marijuana charges and will now no longer impose long suspensions for positive tests.
With the new CBA barely passing with a 1,019 to 959 majority vote, a large portion of players are unhappy with this decision. Others, however, feel like this is a step in the right direction.
Will Compton, for example, claimed on Twitter that he felt the new CBA “was a good deal with some meat still left on the bone”. While this agreement certainly has both positives and negatives, many problems have been accounted for and it should nonetheless create some interesting postseason scenarios.