ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Following a vote by members of the NFL Players Association, a new collective bargaining agreement has officially been ratified.
More than 50 percent of the NFLPA members voted to approve the 10-year deal, which was previously approved by NFL owners.
"NFL players have voted to approve ratification of a new collective bargaining agreement by a vote tally of 1,019 to 959," the NFLPA said in a statement on Sunday. "This result comes after a long and democratic process in accordance with our constitution. An independent auditor received submitted ballots through a secure electronic platform, then verified, tallied and certified the results."
The new CBA ensures the NFL will continue without interruption over the next decade. The previous CBA was scheduled to end in March of 2021. The newly ratified deal ensures that there will be no lockout or strike.
The new CBA will last through the 2030 season.
"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," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement on Sunday. "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."
As part of the new CBA, the following substantial changes are reportedly headed to the league:
- The largest shift involves the potential introduction of a 17-game schedule, which could be implemented as early as the 2021 season. Teams will alternate seasons with nine home games and eight homes to ensure competitive balance.
- If the schedule increases to 17 games, the preseason schedule would move to three games per team.
- The players' revenue share grows by at least a percentage point as part of the deal, and could move to a 1.5-percent increase if the 17-game schedule is implemented.
The NFL's playoff system will also grow, as the 12-team field will increase to 14 teams beginning in 2020. Only one team in each conference will receive a first-round bye, and six total games will be scheduled for wild-card weekend.
- The new CBA also introduces increases to the minimum salaries for both rookies and veterans, provides raises for practice squad players, changes the fifth-year option system for first-round picks, limits the numbers of padded practices during training camp, increases the number of players on both the roster and practice squad, adds to the number of players who can return from injured reserve, expands pension and healthcare benefits for former players and introduces a neutral arbiter for disciplinary cases.
- For a more extensive look at what the CBA includes, click here.
The introduction of a new collective bargaining agreement will likely have an impact on this year's free-agency period. According to reports on the deal, NFL franchises will only be able to use either the franchise tag or the transition tag, rather than both. The reduction in these tags should not have an impact on the Broncos, but it could lead to more players from other teams hitting the open market.
The new league year and free agency is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. MT on Wednesday, March 18.