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Why the NFL CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) Just Passed

Written by: Mike Lukas
Updated November 8, 2022
8 min read

The NFL players have narrowly approved a Collective Bargaining Agreement that dictates how the next eleven seasons of league play will be handled in terms of the number of games played, the number of teams eligible for the playoffs, how much money certain players will make and many other critical pro football factors.

The owners had voted to approve this new CBA on Feb. 20 and the NFL Players Association finally (after much debate) signed off on it February 26 and the 2,500+ NFL players eligible to vote had ten days to cast their ballot from March 4 until March 14 at 11:59 pm.

Now that the votes have been counted and the CBA has passed, we are going to have a look at why the victory was slim and the controversy was thick over this important agreement between the NFL owners and the players they employ.

Here is how this new CBA has affected some of the major concerns.

Revenue Share for Players

based on this new agreement, players will receive a higher share of the league’s revenue from its lucrative TV deals, ticket sales, merchandising and licensing rights and corporate sponsorships.

Now the players will receive a nice future bump in revenue share from the current 47% to 48% during the 2021 season, a significant amount of money when you consider the NFL deals in billions of dollars of revenue per year.

Player Minimum Salaries

this CBA will allow for higher minimum salaries for players, which was one of the major pluses of this agreement since the majority of the league’s current athletes (60% of them make the minimum salary) are affected by this.

Now the growth of the league’s minimum salary will keep at pace with the growth of the salary cap, which it had failed to do with the prior agreement.

This will lead to a return to pace-of-cap minimums, which gives those players an immediate raise of $100,000 and one of $495,000 over the next three years.

Salary Cap

The salary cap was raised for the 2020 season to 47% of all revenue and it will raise a point to 48% for the 2021 season with a so-called “media kicker” that will most likely bump that number up to 48.5%.

Eventually, that number could get close to 49% if broadcast deals continue to reap huge profits.

NFL Marijuana Policy

This CBA changes the NFL’s drug policy to relax how they handle players’ marijuana usage, a change that seemed inevitable given the gradual legalization of the former ‘drug.’

This issue was a huge bonus for the players, who seem to love smoking their weed and have been severely punished with fines and suspensions for usage in the past.

Now suspensions would be eliminated for positive marijuana tests, testing would be reduced to just the first two weeks of training camp, plus the threshold for a positive test was increased.

Benefits for Former Players

The CBA improves the benefits for retired players, particularly for the ones who played prior to 2011.

This includes plans for a new network of health care facilities that will specialize in the medical needs of the former NFL players, who typically suffer lifelong injuries from sacrificing their bodies to the game of professional football.

One of the old complaints of retired players was the feeling of being abandoned by the league once their playing days are over, and this CBA begins to address that criticism.

Gameday Rosters

Even though an NFL roster is allowed to carry 53 players during the regular season, only 46 of them could dress for each game in order to limit potential injuries to healthy players.

With this new CBA, there will be 48 players allowed to dress for each game.

Also, there is now a provision for eight offensive linemen to be active.

Number of Games Played Per Regular Season

This CBA gives the NFL the option to extend the regular season of play by a game, so a total of 17 games could be played instead of 16.

There has been no indication as yet that the NFL is set to make this change, but chances are that it will be forthcoming once the logistics of extending the season are appropriately calculated.

This increase in regular-season games was one of the major sticking points with this CBA since it puts the players more at risk for injury plus wear and tear, factors that tend to shorten a player’s career and therefore the ability to earn money.

Number of Playoff Teams

Instead of 12 teams competing in the NFL playoffs, now there will be 14 including one additional Wild Card team per conference.

The plus side of this is, of course, that more teams will get a chance to play in the postseason.

The downside is that now only one team from each conference, the first overall seed, will get a first-round playoff bye, an honor that has proven to be an advantage when it comes to appearing in and winning the Super Bowl.

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NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement FAQ

What Is the National Football League’s CBA?

How Were the CBA Votes Collected?

What Was the Final Player Vote?

What Major Issues Were Addressed in this CBA?

Why Did the NFL Players Ultimately Pass this CBA?

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Mike Lukas

1204 Articles

Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]

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