NFLPA president believes the players will pass proposed CBA ‘by a lot’

The players have until Thursday at 11:59 p.m. to vote on the proposed collective bargaining agreement, even though NFLPA President Eric Winston believes he knows the direction they will vote. Speaking to NBC’s Peter King in his weekly Football Morning in America column, Winston thinks the majority of players will pass the CBA by flying colors. 

“I would think it would pass. I would think it would pass by a lot,” Winston told King. “It’s important that we let the process play out, and important that all players understand the issues and vote their conscience.”

Under the proposed CBA, the NFL will increase the season to 17 games (from 16) 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 17-game schedule could start as early as 2021 with the 14-team playoff taking effect as early as 2020. With the expansion of the schedule, the preseason will be reduced from four weeks to three as the fourth preseason week would become an extra bye week for the players. 

“It wasn’t our idea,” Winston said of the 17-game schedule, “but the other side has a say too. And we got a lot out of it — a higher all revenue, higher minimum (salaries), expanded rosters, four more practice squad players per team, better work conditions in training camp, better health care, better benefits, a major increase in pension for thousands of former players.”

The active game day roster will expand from 46 to 48 players as practice squads will expand from 10 to 12 players in 2020. That number will increase to 14 players starting in 2022 (including between two and four players with unlimited accrued seasons per team). Also starting in 2021, the annual player revenue will increase from 47 to a minimum of 48% which can go as high to 48.8% with a “media kicker” from the new television deal. 

Winston and the NFLPA leaders have been under a lot of pressure regarding the new CBA, with some players believing the deal was rushed in order to get done. Winston denied that to be the case.

“We went to every team during the fall, let ’em know exactly where we were,” Winston said. “We spent 20 hours since the season ended with our player reps. There have been some misconceptions about the process. You’re not going to get everything you want in a negotiation, and we certainly didn’t.”

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