There will be labor peace in the NFL through the next 11 seasons.
The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) announced Sunday morning its members had approved the ratification of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) by a tally of 1,019 to 959. Only a simple majority was needed to pass the vote. An independent auditor collected the ballots via a secure electronic platform, then verified, tallied and certified the results according to a statement from the NFLPA.
Members had until 8:59 p.m. pacific time Saturday night to cast their vote for the new CBA, which begins this upcoming season and runs 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. "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."
First approved by the league's owners after meeting in New York on Feb. 20, the new CBA comes with several notable changes, including:
- The salary cap increasing to $198.2 million per club for the upcoming season, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, up from $188.2 million in 2019.
- An immediate expansion of the playoffs, with 14 teams now capable of qualifying for the postseason instead of 12, per Pelissero.
- Proposed active roster size increase from 53 players to 55.
- Proposed practice squad size increase from 10 players to 14.
- The option to play a 17-game regular season as soon as 2021.
- Players' share of the league's revenue increasing to 47 percent in 2020, then 48 percent in 2021. Should the league expand the regular season to 17 games in 2021, the players' revenue share rises to 48.5 percent.
- Increases in minimum salaries and performance-based pay for players.
- Padded practices in training camp reduced from 28 to 16, with the duration of those practices shortened from 3 hours to 2.5.
"Our members have spoken and the CBA has been ratified," new NFLPA president J.C. Tretter said in a statement. "We pick up a greater share of revenues, make significant gains to minimum salaries and increase our post-career benefits. For players past, this deal reaches back in an unprecedented way to increase pensions, benefits and make resources available to them. We understand that not all deals are perfect, and we don't take the gains we wanted, but couldn't get, lightly. We now must unite and move forward as a union. The interest and passion on the issues that our members have voiced in the past several weeks needs to continue. Our job is never done and we all must work together as one team to build for a better future."
The NFL's new league year is scheduled to begin Wednesday at 1 p.m. pacific time. Teams may begin negotiating with free agents Monday at 9 a.m. pacific time.