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The next decade of NFL labor peace is officially in the hands of the players.
The controversial collective bargaining agreement, opposed by many of the league’s star players, went to a vote starting on Thursday morning. Voting will be open until the end of the day March 12.
This vote will shape the next path of the NFL, which is still riding a wave of unprecedented success. No pressure.
Players now voting on new CBA
The NFL put out a statement regarding the start of the voting process on Thursday morning.
NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith expressed confidence at last week’s NFL scouting combine that the union would vote yes on the deal. The biggest sticking point is expanding the regular season to 17 games, but Smith said that was a focal point for the NFL to get a deal done now. The new deal, which would run through the 2030 season, would also expand the playoff field by two teams.
CBA has been criticized by stars
While stars like Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, J.J. Watt, Maurkice Pouncey and Richard Sherman have spoken out against the CBA, the NFL incentivized the players on the lower rungs of the league’s salary structure to vote yes by bumping up the minimum salary. That will appeal to players who might only be in the league a few years and are looking to maximize their earning opportunities.
There are benefits for all players, such as an increased split of the revenue and a much more player-friendly drug-testing policy, but if the CBA passes it will be hard for the union to put up a unified front after strong opposition from some of its most notable members.
The next week will be crucial in shaping the next decade of NFL football. It’s in the players’ hands now.
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