By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com
A day after the owners passed their latest CBA proposal and sent it to the Players Association for a vote, the full details of the deal have been revealed.
They key changes are broken down into five categories of financials, hours, working conditions, benefit increases, and players’ rights.
Among the 50-plus bullet points are some relatively major changes, here are the ones that stand out.
One of the biggest concessions being made by the owners in these negotiations seems to be opening up more jobs for bottom-of-the-roster players. Under this new deal, rosters would expand, active roster size would increase, and teams would be allowed to carry nearly 50 percent more players on the practice squad. An extra IR return slot would also be added.
The league would also institute an extra offensive lineman rule, similar to the old third quarterback rule. Teams would be allowed to designate an extra offensive lineman to enter the game if multiple players are lost due to injury.
Fifth-year option reworked
The fifth-year option will still exist, but it has been heavily modified. The most notable change is that the value of the option year is no longer tied to draft position, but performance. For instance, Patrick Mahomes option wouldn’t reflect him being the 10th overall pick, but a league MVP.
This could have a major effect on the way the Patriots do business. Bill Belichick was always tried to acquire players with that option as a way of adding affordable young talent (ex. Danny Shelton). However, if this passes that option year wouldn’t necessarily be as affordable.
Less power for Roger Goodell
Under the new CBA, Roger Goodell would no longer hold the power to handle punishments regarding this such as domestic violence and drug issues. All such cases would be handled by an independent party. It’s not surprising to see the owners put this in after watching Goodell bungle the Ray Rice and Tyreek Hill cases.
Other football related matters, such as integrity of the game issues, would still be under the commissioner’s umbrella. That includes things like Spygate and Deflategate.
No more weed suspensions
While the new CBA doesn’t outright allow players to use marijuana, as many expected, the penalties would become much less severe. The highlight is that players could no longer be suspended just for testing positive for THC, something the owners probably view as more of a concession than the players.
There would also be a shorter testing window (decreased from four months to two weeks), fewer players tested, and a higher threshold to trigger a positive result on a test.
Creating NFL hospitals for former players
Among a number of clauses included to help former players, this is by far the most unique. The league is willing to set up ‘hospitals’ in cities with NFL teams to provide players with basic medical care and counseling at no cost. Obviously there’s a lot of grey area as to how this would play out in practice, but it is certainly a step from the league that at times has seemed callous about players’ well-being after retirement.
The players are expected to vote on the deal as early as Friday. If it passes, most of the changes would go into effect immediately. If not, the owners have set a soft deadline of March 18 to get a deal done. If the sides fail to agree by the end of the 2020 season, there would be a work stoppage.
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Hate mail? Let him hear it on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com.