The proposed new collective bargaining agreement for the NFL doesn’t seem to have much support among the league’s star players. Numerous big names have come out against the CBA in recent days, as details emerged about the proposal.
The most glaring change proposed for the sport is an expansion of the regular season schedule. It would trade a preseason game for a 17th regular season game, something that has generally been a pretty hard line in the sand for players. The proposal would cap the additional game check for players at $250 thousand. Other changes include an additional team for each conference in the playoffs.
Some of the biggest voices in the league have already come out against the proposal. Last week, J.J. Watt said he was a “hard no” on the CBA as currently proposed.
Now, Aaron Rodgers and Richard Sherman have made their thoughts known. It is not super surprising that Sherman, who famously negotiated his own deal with the San Francisco 49ers, is against the deal. Aaron Rodgers is also very against the deal for some other reasons. According to Adam Schefter, he wants more free time in the off-season schedule for players.
Whereas Richard Sherman was one of the loudest voices against the proposed CBA last week, Aaron Rodgers was one of the biggest objectors last night, per sources. Rodgers wanted even more dramatic changes to the off-season program that included more free time for the players.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 26, 2020
Among the biggest concerns with the 17-game schedule come in the player safety department. More games means more injuries, and there is evidence that even non-injurious plays—i.e. subconcussive hits—can have long-term impact on players.
Adding a 17th game while also heavily capping the amount of money that players can make from them felt like a non-starter from the beginning.
Of course, it should be noted that the loudest voices in the room are the most prominent, highest-paid players as of now. Players who are making closer to the minimum, a number that could increase with a new CBA, might be more amenable to a 17th game because the relative value of an additional game check could mean more for them.
We’ll see where things head in the coming weeks. If no deal can be agreed to, there is real risk of a 2021 lockout.