The NFL’s new CBA passed by a thin margin in the players’ vote. Here are some of the impactful changes that are resulting from the new CBA.
Ladies and gentlemen, the NFL now has a decade of labor peace oncoming. The NFL Players Union agreed to the terms of the proposed CBA from the NFL owners. It didn’t pass by much, it passed by about 3 percent, but through 2030, the NFL will continue on.
That said, there are some notable changes in the CBA and ones that will have a big impact on the game as a whole.
The most immediately visible are the changes to the schedule. There will be two more playoff teams in 2020 to create a 14-team playoff. That will give an advantage to No. 1 seeds in the NFC and AFC as they will now be the only team with a bye week as the No. 2 seed will (likely) play the new No. 7 seed in the first round of the playoffs.
And beyond that, the NFL does have a league option to extend the season to 17 games as soon as 2021. It remains to be seen how the league will put that into effect, and when it will actually happen, but they will be playing more games in the near future.
NFL Network’s James Palmer outlined these two key changes along with some other ones in the aftermath of the CBA’s passage.
Of the other rule changes, the one of most note to NFL fans is the increased 48-man roster for games days. That will afford teams an opportunity to dress more healthy players but it is notable that they also have a mandate to activate eight offensive linemen. The league seems to recognize the importance of offensive line play to the success of top teams, so clearly, they want to have qualified blockers on the field to avoid situations where teams run out of linemen due to injuries.
Also notable? Teams can only use one of the franchise tag or transition tag moving forward, as NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport pointed out.
It’s rare that teams would choose to use both tags anyway. But this offseason, that has a negative impact on the Dallas Cowboys who are seeing Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, and Byron Jones hit free agency. With only one tag option, it’s likely they’ll tag Prescott and both Cooper and Jones will have a chance to test the open market.
As for how this impacts the Washington Redskins, they have used their franchise tag on Brandon Scherff. So, they can’t use the transition tag. However, they didn’t really have a sensible candidate on which to use the tag, so it’s not a big deal.
The league’s new CBA is also more relaxed on marijuana testing, as there won’t be any suspensions for positive marijuana tests and the threshold for testing has been raised. That could make players with failed drug tests in their backgrounds more intriguing targets for teams as they will no longer truly be suspension threats.
The new CBA may not have been perfect for the players. And there is some question about the NFL changing their schedule and playoff format, both of which were universally liked by fans. We’ll see how things play out, but the fact that the NFL will keep going with a labor contract in place for the next 10 years is certainly a positive for the fans.