New CBA proposal won’t make every team play internationally in 17th game, per report

The NFL owners approved a collective bargaining agreement proposal Thursday, a vote that is now in the hands of the players. The main topic of conversation regarding the new CBA is the addition of a 17th game to the schedule, the first time the league would expand the schedule since 1978. 

The league hasn’t scheduled an odd number of games since 1946, when the league schedule consisted of 11 games. The 1982 season had just nine games and the 1987 season had just 15 games, but both were caused by a players strike that shortened the season. 

How will the league implement that 17th game and create a balanced schedule? NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo has leaked some details of the new CBA, reporting the 17th game wouldn’t be an international game for every team, with a cap on total international games. The NFL’s initial plan is to have nine home games for some teams and eight home games for the other, reversing the pattern for the following year. Teams that play some home games overseas (like the Jacksonville Jaguars) would have to be implemented in the plan. 

If the players don’t approve the deal, playoff expansion will not take affect in 2020, as the expansion is tied to the deal. Teams would also be able to activate a third player off injured reserve during the season, as opposed to two under the current format. Teams could also promote a few players from the practice squad to the active roster and back without having to waive them, keeping those players on their roster. The practice squad is expected to increase from 10 to 14 players by 2022.

The new CBA would also increase the roster from 53 players to 55, and 48 players would be active on game day. Add the maximum of 14 players on the practice squad and the total number of players on a roster would be 69. 

The highlights of the new CBA include the 17-game season and the addition of an extra team to the playoffs in each conference. The 14-team playoff would have the top seed earning a first-round bye, while seeds No. 2 through No. 7 would play on Wild Card Weekend. The NFL would have a tripleheader of games on Saturday and Sunday in the wild-card round. The 17-game season would also result in reduction of the preseason, dropping from four games to three or potentially even two, as Jason La Canfora reported on CBS Sports HQ on Wednesday. 

Higher minimum salaries and an extra percentage point of revenue (the current CBA lists the players revenue at 47%) would go to the players, per Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic. 

The balance of the 17-game schedule will be a topic of conversation going forward, but the NFL appears set on making certain teams getting nine home games and other teams getting eight home games will work. The league will have plenty of time to set up the new structure over the next few years. 

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