Although they aren’t sure when they will take to the grid iron, professional football players recently voted on a new contract that will increase the size of team rotsters and increase player salaries.
Beginning with the 2021 season the playing season will include 17 regular season games. There are still some logistics to work out dealing with neutral sites and home game numbers with an uneven number of games.
Conversely, the number of pre-season games will be reduced from four games to three.
Though not a part of the CBA, the owners have increased the post season with the addition of two more teams.
Teams will be allowed to add two more players to the practice squad roster; with an additional two more players added at a later date. The game rosters will be increased from the current 54 to 55 players.
With the salary cap for each team at $198.2 million, the minimum salary has also been increased; as has the pensions for retired players.
The agreement also lowers the penalties for players who test positive for marijuana, including the elimination of game suspensions. The results for a positive test have been increased significantly from 35 nanograms to 150.
Already approved by the 32 team owners, the new player’s contract is a whopping 439 pages long. Running through 2030 but was narrowly agreed upon by the Player’s Association executive board and the player representatives. With 2,500 players in the league the new contract passed by a simple majority with a vote of 1,019 to 959. NFL standouts Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, J.J. Watt and Todd Gurley were among those players that spoke out against the new agreement.
A pleased Commissioner, Roger Goodell said, “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 added, “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.”
The business end of the NFL has begun with free agency and the trading of players and the annual drafting of college players is set to take place in Las Vegas April 23-25.