As the NFL owners hoped to have a new collective agreement by the end of the day, the process was slowed down by the NFL Players Association, which decided not to vote for the ratification of the deal on Friday, which will result in the process until next week according to delayed reports.
The owners of the NFL team voted on Thursday to approve a potential new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the players, which is set to last until 2029. The key changes that owners are demanding include extending the regular season from 16 to 17 games, expanding playoffs from 12 teams to 14 teams, and increasing players' share of sales from 47 percent to 48 percent.
The NFLPA Executive Committee should vote first to recommend it to the 32 player representatives for a vote that should take place on Friday afternoon. However, the executive committee voted 6-5 against the recommendation of the currently proposed CBA earlier in the day, and the 32 player representatives decided to postpone the vote until next week, according to several reports.
The vote is expected to take place next week, despite a statement by the NFLPA that the Council of Representatives has declined to vote on a recommendation, in hopes of further meetings with NFL management.
"Today, the NFLPA board of players' representatives has not voted on the key terms of a proposed new collective agreement," the NFLPA statement said. "The Executive Committee looks forward to meeting with NFL management again next week before the board votes shortly thereafter."
A conference call for the 32 players was scheduled for Friday afternoon. According to the ESPN, they should focus on the key terms of the agreement, including expanding the regular season to 17 games and expanding the playoff field to seven teams in each conference. Other points included higher player revenue, higher club minimum expenses, league drug policy changes related to marijuana, a modified schedule for on-field discipline, and higher benefits for former players.
The current CBA was ratified in 2011 and expires after the 2020 season. If this is approved by the players, the new CBA has reportedly been able to enter into force in time for the new league year starting March 18.
Union leaders are reportedly still working on specific details for the next steps in the vote. However, an ESPN report says the owners will not be receptive to further discussions about the proposed CBA, which essentially makes it a take-it-or-leave-it proposal.
The strange turn of the procedure on Friday was the fact that the Executive Committee, which voted 6: 5 against the NFL proposal, is the same group that is primarily responsible for negotiating the deal with the league owners.
A number of top-class players, including Vice Presidents Russell Okung from the Chargers and Richard Sherman from the 49ers, and Texas defensive end J.J. Watt and Jaguars, who had returned Leonard Fournette, had spoken out publicly against the deal, possibly causing the Executive Committee break on Friday.