The NFL and its players just struck a new labor deal that seems to benefit both sides. The wish list for the players did not include getting guaranteed salaries, but the majority of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) members felt good enough about the new deal to move forward and cement an agreement with the league.
“NFL players have voted to approve ratification of a new collective bargaining agreement by a vote tally of 1,019 to 959,” the NFLPA said in a released statement. “This result comes after a long and democratic process in accordance with our constitution. An independent auditor received submitted ballots through a secure electronic platform, then verified, tallied and certified the results.”
The new collective bargaining agreement runs through 2030, according to ESPN.com.
”We are pleased that the players have voted to ratify the proposed new CBA, which will provide substantial benefits to all current and retired players, increase jobs, ensure continued progress on player safety, and give our fans more and better football,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who issued a statement about the deal’s ratification on March 15. “We appreciate the tireless efforts of the members of the Management Council Executive Committee and the NFLPA leadership, both of whom devoted nearly a year to detailed, good faith negotiations to reach this comprehensive, transformative agreement.”
With the coronavirus hanging around and disrupting the sports world, does anyone care about the NFL’s current labor deal with its high-salaried employees? Some people do. For the dedicated pro football fan, there are a couple of items that should be noted about the new deal that was struck between the league and the National Football Players Association (NFLPA).
First of all, a 17-week NFL is going to happen. Period. That reality is probably going to take place as early as 2021, but it may not get off the ground until 2022, according to ESPN.com, citing an NFLPA document. Looking at this deal from the player’s perspective, they get more money. A lot of it.
Show Me the Money
According to documents shared to ESPN.com courtesy of the NFLPA, players will share of the money pie from any type of legal gambling connected to and with any NFL stadium. That revenue stream players sought and will get includes gambling on other sports beside the NFL.
That’s not all, folks. With the new Sofi Stadium in Inglewood, California, scheduled to break bread this season for the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, many people are expecting to reap the financial benefits.
You can count on the NFL players cashing in as well. NFL players are expected to take in as much as 70 percent of all income from the stadium that goes over projections that are expected. The biggest financial pot for the players will come from the general fund. Players currently take home 47 percent of all revenue connected to the NFL.
The deal will allow that number to push upwards to nearly 49 percent (48.8 percent) when a “media kicker” clause kicks in. This is based on the league’s projected TV deals, ESPN.com reported.
Besides getting paid more, players will now have an opportunity to see their cash flow come in regularly. Instead of being paid for just four months (when the season in is play), the new CBA will allow players to be compensated over an eight-month period once the expanded season takes place.
For players who can’t make the cut to be placed on an active NFL roster, securing a spot on a team’s practice squad, especially during a 17-game season, could be beneficial monetarily. The current practice player beginning salary is placed at $8,000. The new CBA would push those numbers to $11,500 by the time the 2022 season rolls around.
Player Discipline and a Much Longer Season
There are numerous topics and issues that the current NFLPA were successful at negotiating with the league, including getting suspensions of players who test positive for using marijuana tossed and forcing the NFL to hold testing for the drug only for a couple of weeks (first two weeks of training camp).
Players also don’t have to worry about Goodell acting as jury, judge and the final implementation-maker of player discipline. An appointed arbitrator will be appointed to handle those responsibilities. But everything has a price. For the revenue cut that the players looked for there were a couple of caveats put in place by the league to even things out.
First, NFL players will be on the outside looking in when it comes to securing guaranteed contracts for all of its players. That’s not going to happen under the newly struck deal between the league and the NFLPA. The second item is that fans will see an expansion in the NFL playoff format.
Instead of six teams entering the Super Bowl sweepstakes at the end of the regular season, there will now be seven clubs participating. In lay man’s terms, what this means is that there will be three wild-card teams and more games played on the opening weekend of the playoffs.
A Divided House and the Democratic Process
While there are a lot of good that seemed to come out of the CBA to benefit its members, the NFLPA vote demonstrated a divided union. Those saying yes to the CBA outvoted their peers by 60 total votes. That’s a little too close for comfort. That means the player’s association has a divided house in what issues needs to be addressed and what would be best to serve the needs of its members.
“We understand and know that players have been split on this deal, including members of our EC, ” according to a statement put out by the NFLPA. “Going forward, it is our duty to lead. However, we may feel, as individuals, to bring our men together and to continue to represent the interests of our entire membership.”
Dennis is the editor and publisher of News4usonline. He covers sports, social and racial justice, politics, equal rights, and entertainment. Dennis has over two decades of journalism experience. He earned a degree in journalism from Howard University. “I write what I’m passionate about.”