Negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement between the NFL’s ownership and its players association will continue on Tuesday in Indianapolis: representatives from the two sides will meet face-to-face at the scouting combine to work through questions and other issues that may have arisen after the owners sent a first proposal to the NFLPA last week. Players did not vote on it initially, with today’s gathering a possible step towards that.
Not including legal counsel or the like, 21 people will be present for the meeting — with New England Patriots connections on both sides of the proverbial aisle. The NFL’s nine-man management council includes team owner Robert Kraft, who played a key role in ending the lockout after CBA negotiations fell through in 2011, while the NFLPA will be co-represented by current Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson and former kicker Adam Vinatieri.
Kraft and the rest of the owners will try to convince Watson, Vinatieri and company to sign off on a deal that would likely lead to a 17-game regular season and increased playoff field, as well as changes to roster sizes, minimum salaries and training camp procedures, among other things. In this particular case, however, “signing off” means not that the NFLPA executive council can adopt the proposal but that it can clear another hurdle.
After all, a simple-majority vote is needed to send the proposal to all members of the NFLPA to electronically vote on it. If all goes well during the talks in Indianapolis, such a vote could come later this week with a new CBA potentially being ratified before the start of the new league — and the final one under the current agreement — in mid-March. If not, negotiations will continue and possibly have an impact on the league’s offseason schedule.
Just this weekend, after all, the NFL and the NFLPA jointly agreed to push the franchise tag window back two days: teams previously would have been able to apply two of the three different tags between February 25 and March 10. Now, this window opens two days later, on February 27, and will not be shut until March 12. If CBA negotiations reach an impasse this week, further disruptions might be on the horizon for the league.
The following members of the NFL and the NFLPA will be present at Tuesday’s talks in Indianapolis (via the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin):
NFL Management Council
- Roger Goodell (commissioner)
- John Mara (New York Giants owner)
- Mike Brown (Cincinnati Bengals owner)
- Clark Hunt (Kansas City Chiefs owner)
- Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys owner)
- Robert Kraft (New England Patriots owner)
- Mark Murphy (Green Bay Packers CEO)
- Art Rooney (Pittsburgh Steelers owner)
- Dean Spanos (Los Angeles Chargers owner)
NFLPA Executive Committee
- DeMaurice Smith (executive director)
- Eric Winston (president)
- Mark Herzlich (treasurer)
- Sam Acho (vice president; Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
- Lorenzo Alexander (vice president; Buffalo Bills)
- Zak DeOssie (vice president; New York Giants)
- Thomas Morstead (vice president; New Orleans Saints)
- Russell Okung (vice president; Los Angeles Chargers)
- Richard Sherman (vice president; San Francisco 49ers)
- Michael Thomas (vice president; New York Giants)
- Adam Vinatieri (vice president; Indianapolis Colts)
- Benjamin Watson (vice president; New England Patriots)