Sources: Player reps divided over 17-game slate

  • ESPN staff writer
  • Previously a college football reporter for
  • University of Florida graduate

NFL player leadership is still majorly divided over the thought of a 17-game season.

Player reps fell into three categories when discussing the proposed new collective bargaining agreement, sources told ESPN: those who do not want 17 games, those who will accept it with tweaks to the deal, and those who accept it as-is.

Those reps held a conference call Friday and were set to vote on the deal, but getting a two-thirds majority was far from a slam dunk, a source said. The NFL Players Association decided to postpone voting, giving all parties involved a few days to sleep on the proposal and meet at this week’s NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.

“Anything is possible at this point,” a source said.

The players are set to meet with NFL officials on Tuesday and could vote as early as Wednesday but hope to go back to owners and continue negotiations, according to ESPN’s Dan Graziano. The owners have no intention to renegotiate the offer, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who also reported that the NFLPA and NFL management council have pushed back the start of the franchise tag designation period from Tuesday to Thursday. Teams will now have until March 12 to decide whether to tag a player. NFL teams currently have the option to tag two players (using either the franchise or transition tag), but a new CBA would limit teams to one available tag.

Among the changes some players would like to see, according to sources: an increased revenue share, improved pension and further improvements to working conditions.

The NFLPA executive committee voted 6-5 against recommending the proposed CBA, which offers a guaranteed revenue share of 48% in 2021, with a potential increase to 48.5% upon the start of a 17-game season, which has yet to be determined.

The proposal also offers at least $90,000 increases on minimum salaries, increased pay for offseason activities, expanded pension eligibility, a limit of 16 days in pads at training camp and mandated improvements to visiting teams’ locker rooms.

The current CBA expires in March 2021.

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