While the Coronavirus dominated the headlines over the past week, another big story was developing behind the scenes: the NFL Players Association has called upon its more than 2,000 members to vote on a proposed collective bargaining agreement that would ensure labor peace for another 10 years. At midnight on Saturday, the voting period came to an end and the NFLPA announced the players’ decision a few hours later.
The players have voted to ratify the new CBA as was announced by the following statement from the association:
NFL players have voted to approve ratification of a new collective bargaining agreement by a vote tally of 1,019 to 959. This result comes after a long and democratic process in accordance with our constitution. An independent auditor received submitted ballots through a secure electronic platform, then verified, tallied and certified the results.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, meanwhile, released the following statement on the outcome of the vote:
We are pleased that the players have voted to ratify the proposed new CBA, which will provide substantial benefits to all current and retired players, increase jobs, ensure continued progress on player safety, and give our fans more and better football. We appreciate the tireless efforts of the members of the Management Council Executive Committee and the NFLPA leadership, both of whom devoted nearly a year to detailed, good faith negotiations to reach this comprehensive, transformative agreement.
The new deal will go into effect right away and lift the “Final League Year” rules under which teams have operated this offseason. Furthermore, some major changes will come the NFL’s way over the next few years. While minimum salaries and the players’ revenue share will increase, the league will also add two new playoff teams beginning in 2020 and also increase the regular season from 16 to 17 games beginning as early as 2021.
The New England Patriots, meanwhile, will also welcome the new deal as it lifts the so-called “30 percent rule” that effectively prohibits teams from backloading contracts. Re-negotiating contracts or signing players to extensions becomes a lot easier without this stipulation in place.