The league’s current collective bargaining agreement will enter its final year on March 18, and the NFL’s ownership and players association have worked towards a new deal for several months now. On Thursday evening, an important next step was taken towards finalizing a new CBA: the owners, albeit not unanimously as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported, have agreed on a framework that was sent to the players to be voted on.
The NFL released the following statement on the matter:
Following more than ten months of intensive and thorough negotiations, the NFL Players and clubs have jointly developed a comprehensive set of new and revised terms that will transform the future of the game, provide for players — past, present, and future — both on and off the field, and ensure that the NFL’s second century is even better and more exciting for the fans.
The membership voted today to accept the negotiated terms on the principal elements of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Players Association would also need to vote to approve the same terms for there to be a new agreement.
Since the clubs and players need to have a system in place and know the rules that they will operate under by next week, the membership also approved moving forward under the final year of the 2011 CBA if the players decide not to approve the negotiated terms. Out of respect for the process and our partners at the NFLPA, we will have no further comment at this time.
The ball is now officially in the NFLPA’s court, and the union representatives are scheduled to have a conference call on Friday to discuss this new proposal.
The 32-player council — which features representatives from each of the league’s clubs, including New England Patriots special teamer Matthew Slater — could then decide whether or not to send this proposal to the full union for a final vote. A two-thirds majority will be needed for a decision from the representatives either way, while a simple majority would subsequently adopt the new CBA if a full membership vote takes place.
It remains to be seen what the player representatives’ next course of action will be, but there has already been some opposition to the owners’ proposal from players such as the Houston Texans’ J.J. Watt or the San Francisco 49ers’ Richard Sherman.