The next decade of pro football is currently in the hands of over 2,000 players, who are eligible to vote on the proposed new collective bargaining agreement. The voting process has started last Thursday, March 5, and was originally scheduled to run for one week through March 12. However, as the NFL Players Association announced on Monday, the voting window has been extended and will now be open for two additional days.
The NFLPA released the following statement on the decision yesterday:
By a vote of our Board of Player Representatives, we have extended the voting deadline for the proposed new collective bargaining agreement to Saturday, March 14th at 11:49pm EDT. Every vote matters, and we encourage all players to review the materials sent via email in order to make an informed decision.
The decision by the players association’s board — one that includes Matthew Slater as the New England Patriots’ players representative — is not insignificant for the league. After all, the extended voting period means that a new CBA may not be ratified until just a few days before the start of the NFL’s legal-tampering period preceding free agency. Furthermore, it means that the franchise tag window closes two days before voting is concluded.
Until then, the league continues to operate under the “Final League Year” rules: teams are allowed to use both a franchise and a transition tag to keep players from the open market if they so choose, while the so-called “30 percent rule” remains in place to keep teams from back-loading contracts beyond the final years governed under a labor deal. While the tags are not important for the Patriots this year, the spending limit certainly is considering that it limits New England’s financial flexibility to generate short-term cap relief.
In case a new CBA gets ratified over the weekend, however, the “30 percent rule” would become irrelevant while teams will be forced to rescind one of their tags in case they opted to use both. Accordingly, the league might decide to extend the franchise tag window beyond Thursday’s 4:00 p.m. ET deadline per a report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The start of the 2020 league year and free agency, meanwhile, is still scheduled for March 18.
For more information on the proposed CBA, please make sure to check out our previous coverage on the topic:
If you want to read through the entire 456-page long proposed collective bargaining agreement, please click here.