What we know about proposed NFL collective bargaining agreement, timeline of talks

The NFL Players Association's board of player representatives initiated a pivotal step in achieving labor peace with the league's owners when it voted to send the proposal brought forth by owners last week to a full vote by the players, the union announced early Wednesday morning. 

Now, a simple majority among the approximately 2,000 NFL players would ratify the deal. 

Negotiations between the two sides are taking place in Indianapolis, where the NFL scouting combine is sharing the spotlight this year with the labor talks. 

Here's what is known about the potential new deal, including: what's in it for players, what the owners proposed and the timeline of the talks. 

Details in proposed NFL CBA 

The proposed CBA most notably includes a provision expanding the regular season to 17 games. As a result, players will receive 48% of the revenue, eventually climbing to 48.5%. Paired with projected revenue growth, it could net the players an added $5 billion in total. 

If ratified by majority of players, new deal would give them the highest percentage of revenues of any American professional sport, going to 48% and eventually could climb higher than 48.5% depending on media rights. That would mean more than $5 billion in new money to players.

The new deal would also include an expanded playoff setup of 14 teams, with only the top seed in each conference receiving a first-round bye. The new postseason format would likely go into effect this upcoming season. 

In addition to adding a regular-season matchup for every team (with no extra bye), the proposed CBA limits the number of international games teams play. It also reduces the number of training camp practices from 28 to 16. 

Rosters would expand by two players (from 53 to 55), with 48 players able to dress for games rather than the current 46. Practice squad sizes would rise from 10 players to 12 and eventually 14. Protecting those players from free agency would be easier. 

The minimum salary for rookies is expected to increase by $100,000 in 2020. Additionally, owners and the league are set to relax the league's penalties on marijuana and put player discipline for off-field incidents in the hands of a neutral arbitrator rather than commissioner Roger Goodell, who currently adjudicates such matters.

What owners wanted in NFL CBA 

At the crux of all of this is money, obviously. Hammering out a new deal now will give the NFL security and leverage in its negotiations with broadcast partners this offseason. 

The major sticking point is the additional regular season game. For that 17th game, owners had proposed capping the additional game check at $250,000. However, the revised deal will give players the full prorated value of their contract for the extra contest, a person familiar with the discussions told USA TODAY Sports' Mike Jones. The person spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the talks.

Timeline of NFL CBA talks 

With hurdles still to clear, here’s how the league and union jumped over the major ones:

The owners approved the terms in their version of the proposal last Thursday in New York.

The next day, the NFL Players Association’s executive board voted 6-5 against the proposed CBA. All 32 player reps elected not to vote Friday and instead desired to meet with the NFL management council executive committee on Tuesday in Indianapolis.

The nearly four-hour conference between the two sides resulted in the player reps’ announcement they had voted to send the new CBA to membership for the full vote. A vote will not take place Wednesday and might not be held this week, a person familiar with the matter told USA TODAY Sports' Mike Jones. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because discussions were still ongoing.

The new CBA could take effect prior to March 18, the start of the new league year, if it is ratified in the coming days. If that is the case, free agency and other offseason matters could be reshaped by potential salary cap changes. Several teams' plans could also be altered if a new league deal eliminates the possibility for franchises to use both the franchise and transition tags this year.

Key players have spoken out against new CBA

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, a vice president on the NFLPA executive committee, believes the 17-game slate is a ploy by the owners to eventually stretch the regular season to 18 games. He’s been outspoken about the deal on social media, as has Houston Texans star J.J. Watt.

Several players have pushed for greater concessions in exchange for the 17th game, which remains a sticking point for man

Leadership! I am with you! Please communicate with your team rep. https://t.co/JucZbwqoa2

50/50 https://t.co/41Dsn2UvYp

The @NBA & @MLB are doing it right.
Players come first.

ALL @NFL players deserve the same.

WE should not rush the next 10 YEARS for Today’s satisfaction.


Contributing: Mike Jones, USA TODAY Sports; Michael Middlehust-Schwartz, USA TODAY Sports; The Associated Press

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