STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

NFL players approve labor deal, including 17-game season

MGN Online

By a close vote, and with some 500 union members not participating, NFL players have approved a new labor agreement with the league.

Posted: Mar 15, 2020 2:55 PM

ASSOCIATED PRESS - By a close vote, and with some 500 union members not participating, NFL players have approved a new labor agreement with the league. It features a 17-game regular season, higher salaries, increased roster sizes and larger pensions for current and former players.

The deal, which runs through the 2030 season, was accepted by the 32 team owners last month. The NFL Players Association’s membership spent the last week voting on the 439-page document after its executive board narrowly rejected it by a 6-5 vote, and the player representatives voted 17-14 in favor, with one abstention.

Clearly, there was some strong player opposition to this collective bargaining agreement, though. Many stars, including Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, J.J. Watt and Todd Gurley, spoke out against it. The total vote, among the nearly 2,500 union members who participated, was 1,019-959. Ratification required a simple majority — results were announced Sunday — and there could be lasting resentment among union members, given how close the vote was.

“Can’t believe we agreed to that lol,” Colts tight end Eric Ebron tweeted. “We can only play this game for so long and y’all didn’t want everything we could get out of it? ... 2030 y’all do better.”

Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey expressed displeasure about the turnout for voting.

“Around 500 players didn’t even vote on the new CBA ...,” he tweeted. “It’s good and bad to this deal. I could see why anyone would vote either way. I just think it’s amazing guys don’t even care.”

Packers defensive back Tramon Williams offered support for the approval of the new CBA.

“They can’t see the forest because they are so focused on the tree,” he tweeted. “You will be a former player a lot longer than an actual player in the NFL.”

Almost immediately, players were urging unity, particularly in the face of the criticism from within their ranks about approving the deal.

“The democratic process has played itself out,” tweeted Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, one of the most influential voices in the union. “We must be committed to unifying our current and former members. While I don’t agree with the decision because of its negative impacts on some current and former players, I do respect our process and will push forward accordingly.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, not surprisingly, praised the players’ acceptance of the new CBA.

“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,” Goodell said in a statement. “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.”

Soon after the union announced the voting results, it began discussing with the league the planned opening of the 2020 NFL business season on Wednesday with free agency and trades. A delay is possible given league restrictions on travel as a safeguard against the new coronavirus.

Timing and potential format changes for the draft, scheduled in Las Vegas from April 23-25, also could be discussed.

A 17-game schedule won’t happen before the 2021 season. The mechanics for an uneven number of games — neutral sites or which teams get nine home games — will be worked out in the interim.

Extending the season was a nonissue with the players in 2011, when the current 10-year deal was finalized after a 4 1/2 month lockout.

NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith explained the ins and outs of negotiating the new deal in a lengthy tweet after the voting had concluded Saturday night.

“The current proposal contains increases across almost every category of wages, hours, working conditions and benefits for former and current players,” he said. “Like any contested negotiation ... the proposal also reflects trades with the counterparty which have to be carefully weighed and assessed across the entirety of the deal. Please be confident that I hear — loudly and clearly — those of you who have passionately expressed their perspective that these gains are not enough when weighed against, for example, adding another game. That position reflects how some members have chosen to weigh what aspect of the deal is important to them.

“The fact is, however, that there are literally hundreds of issues in any collective bargaining agreement that affect thousands of circumstances and impact thousands of current and former players which we must consider carefully.”

The gains the players make in the new agreement in sharing “a bigger portion of the growing pie,” according to outgoing NFLPA President Eric Winston, swayed the vote.

Among those gains:

— An increase from the 47% of league revenues given to the players, with that percentage dependent on the length of the season.

— A reduction of the preseason, initially from four games to three. More time off during training camps.

— Upgraded pensions, with the addition of groups of previous players not included in past agreements.

— Two more roster spots per team, from 53 to 55; that’s 64 more jobs.

— Larger practice squads with fewer limitations on movement of those players.

— Narrowing the testing period for players for marijuana use, plus lowered discipline for using it; and a reduction in on-field fines.

Adding two playoff teams was not part of the bargaining process; the owners can do so without union approval. That is expected to occur this season, with only the top team in each conference getting a wild-card bye.

With labor peace for the rest of the decade, the NFL now will turn to negotiating new deals with its broadcast partners. Results of that, including digital media, should, as Winston mentioned, substantially grow the financial pie.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 111322

Reported Deaths: 3202
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7796173
DeSoto670178
Harrison484483
Jackson435081
Rankin383786
Madison373993
Lee344979
Forrest296377
Jones283782
Washington252197
Lafayette242642
Lauderdale2376131
Lamar217138
Bolivar198377
Oktibbeha195854
Neshoba1814111
Lowndes174962
Panola166337
Leflore160787
Sunflower157649
Warren152755
Monroe145972
Pontotoc143819
Pike137256
Lincoln135555
Copiah135036
Marshall134826
Scott123829
Coahoma123436
Grenada120038
Yazoo119333
Simpson118649
Union115225
Holmes113560
Leake113340
Tate113239
Itawamba110424
Pearl River108958
Adams104343
Prentiss102619
Wayne98721
Alcorn96012
George93917
Marion92942
Covington92525
Tippah85921
Newton84427
Chickasaw82625
Winston82221
Tallahatchie81825
Tishomingo79341
Hancock78127
Attala77626
Clarke72349
Clay67621
Jasper67417
Walthall63327
Calhoun61412
Noxubee59617
Smith58316
Claiborne53216
Montgomery52923
Tunica52217
Lawrence49914
Yalobusha49314
Perry48122
Carroll46312
Greene45518
Stone45014
Amite41713
Quitman4146
Humphreys41216
Jefferson Davis39811
Webster36613
Wilkinson33020
Kemper32015
Benton3154
Sharkey27814
Jefferson27010
Franklin2373
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22563372
Mobile14335314
Tuscaloosa10023133
Montgomery9759196
Madison904893
Shelby709960
Lee644966
Baldwin640569
Marshall428248
Calhoun412759
Etowah405749
Morgan396833
Houston364632
DeKalb319628
Elmore310752
St. Clair282142
Limestone270828
Walker268892
Talladega258435
Cullman227623
Lauderdale208740
Autauga201029
Jackson200915
Franklin199731
Colbert192228
Russell19053
Dallas185627
Blount184824
Chilton181731
Escambia171328
Coffee16669
Covington166029
Dale163451
Pike130512
Chambers130143
Tallapoosa128686
Clarke127117
Marion104729
Butler99840
Barbour9889
Marengo97221
Winston90413
Geneva8417
Pickens80517
Lawrence80031
Randolph79814
Bibb79114
Hale74529
Cherokee72214
Clay71912
Lowndes70127
Henry6376
Bullock63517
Monroe6319
Washington62212
Crenshaw59330
Perry5806
Wilcox55912
Conecuh55713
Fayette55312
Cleburne5287
Macon52820
Sumter46721
Lamar4565
Choctaw38712
Greene33916
Coosa1973
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 63°
Columbus
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 64°
Oxford
Few Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 63°
Starkville
Broken Clouds
59° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 59°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather