N.F.L. Owners Approve Bargaining Agreement and Await Vote by Players

N.F.L. Owners Approve Bargaining Agreement and Await Vote by Players


The N.F.L.’s 32 teams moved quickly on Thursday to approve a new proposed labor agreement that includes a 17th regular-season game and an expanded playoff structure.

Team owners, including John Mara of the Giants, a member of the N.F.L.’s management council, declined to comment as they exited a Manhattan hotel where they had met for a little under two hours.

For the new deal to take effect, it would need to be approved two-thirds of the 32 team representatives and then receive a majority vote by all players. Those union representatives will meet via conference call on Friday, and it is unknown whether they will actually vote.

The league released a statement afterward acknowledging that the current collective bargaining agreement, ratified in 2011 and effective through March 2021, will continue to define operations should the players not reach an approving vote on the new proposal by next week’s scouting combine.

“Since the clubs and players need to have a system in place and know the rules that they will operate under by next week, the membership also approved moving forward under the final year of the 2011 C.B.A. if the players decide not to approve the negotiated terms,” the statement read.

Many players have been outspoken in their opposition to adding a game to the regular season, including Richard Sherman, a member of the N.F.L. Players Association’s executive committee. “I don’t think it’s something that players are interested in, honestly, and if that’s the point they’re negotiating on I think these negotiations are going to go on a lot longer than anticipated,” Sherman told reporters before the Super Bowl. On Thursday, Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette tweeted, “I disagree with the 17 games.”

Under the proposal, the playoffs would expand from 12 teams to 14.

The league is eager to resolve this impasse soon so it can concentrate on negotiating with television networks and technology companies for the rights to broadcast games, which are expected to bring in a flood of new revenue.

On Thursday, the N.F.L.P.A. president, Eric Winston, tweeted: “There has been a flood of information on the potential of a new cba. To our players: your player leadership has been working tirelessly. This is a business deal and no deal is finalized until the players vote.”

Ken Belson contributed reporting.





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