There’s an awful lot of uncertainty in the world right now, and sports is not immune. The NFL, however, gave its fans the rare bit of positive news when word came down yesterday that NFL players narrowly approved a new collective bargaining agreement that’ll ensure labor continuity for another ten years.
Sources to ESPN: NFL players voted to approve the proposed CBA, giving the NFL 10 more years of labor peace, players an increased share of revenue, former players added benefits, and the league 17-game regular seasons along with an expanded playoff field.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 15, 2020
The new collective bargaining agreement was barely passed with 1,019 “yes” votes and 959 “no” votes.
The final vote: 1019 YES against 959 NO. So, very close, but a new CBA is passed and agreed to.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 15, 2020
The new deal allows the owners to add a 17th regular season game between 2021 and 2023 (which means 2020 may be the last season with sixteen regular season games), increases the shared revenue percentage for the players, increases minimum salaries, adds roster and practice squad spots, removes the ability for teams to use a franchise and transition tag in the same offseason, creates a new veteran salary benefit to allow teams to re-sign veteran players without it counting against the salary cap, removes suspensions for positive marijuana test, decreases the suspensions for performance enhancing drugs and DUIs, and, most importantly and effective immediately, increases the number of playoff teams in each conference from six to seven.
What does this mean for today? Well, the new league year begins at 11:00 a.m. CDT. Teams have until then to assign their tags. After that, everyone without a contract officially becomes a free agent and the legal tampering period begins. Teams and free agents have two days to negotiate contracts before they can officially begin signing new deals on Wednesday.
Those first two days of free agency are generally when absurd dollars get tossed around and big name free agents are signed. Ater that, the market settles down some and things make more sense again.
For the Texans, who have to improve their pass defense even after inking Bradley Roby to a three-year extension, finding an impact pass rusher seems like the first order of business. It will be interesting to see what Houston does.
Check back later today and follow along in our “Legal Tampering: Day One” thread” here at Battle Red Blog.