Collective bargaining negotiations between NFL players and owners will continue into the season and possibly beyond, as the two sides have yet to make significant progress on the most important financial aspects of a new deal.
Sources close to the negotiations say there were no player-owner talks this week and none are currently scheduled for the near future.
The players came out of last week’s negotiating session believing the owners are determined to do a deal that includes some sort of expansion of the season, though to this point the owners have not submitted a concrete proposal that includes an increase in the number of games. Discussions have included the possibility of expanding the regular season from 16 to 17 or 18 games or adding an extra round to the playoffs.
The NFL Players Association has repeatedly said it would not agree to any expansion of the season, but if the owners are steadfast in their desire for it, the players will have to discuss what would make it worth it for them. The current CBA specifies that the players get no less than 47 percent of all league revenue in any given year. Sources say internal conversations on the NFLPA side right now are about how high that number would have to be to make it worth agreeing to extra games.
With the NFL’s regular season beginning Thursday night, owners will not meet their publicly stated goal of having a new CBA in place before the start of the 2019 season. But sources say enough work has been done on other issues that, once the macro financial issues (i.e., the revenue split) are resolved, a deal could come together quickly.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith is on the road now for his annual series of visits to every team, and his schedule this year is more compressed than it has been in years past because of the possibility he’ll be needed back at the bargaining table before long.
The current collective bargaining agreement between NFL players and owners expires after the 2020 season.