NFL team owners voted Thursday to approve proposed terms of a new collective-bargaining agreement, clearing the way for a player vote that will determine whether a revised labor deal is in place for the upcoming season.
“Following more than ten months of intensive and thorough negotiations, the NFL players and clubs have jointly developed a comprehensive set of new and revised terms that will transform the future of the game, provide for players – past, present, and future – both on and off the field, and ensure that the NFL's second century is even better and more exciting for the fans,” the NFL said in a statement.
NFL owners require a three-fourths majority to pass a proposal. The labor deal is subject to final approval by the NFL Players Association. Player representatives are expected to hold a conference call Friday, which could result in a vote.
If players vote to reject the terms as presently defined, the NFL will play out the final year of its current labor deal, league representatives added. Since the collective-bargaining agreement determines how the NFL salary cap is calculated, teams need clarity within days.
Without an agreement in place, the NFL would be at risk for a work stoppage.
Under the proposed labor deal, players would receive a larger split of NFL revenue. The NFL would also expand its playoff format, with seven teams from each conference earning a spot in the postseason. The change to the postseason would take effect in time for the upcoming season, ESPN reported.
NFL owners also support an expanded regular season of 17 games per team – a concept that players have long resisted due to health concerns. If approved, that proposal would not take effect until 2021 at the earliest.