Will the New NFL CBA Be Approved? Prediction and Odds

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The deadline has been extended for NFL players to vote for or against the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), moved from Thursday, March 12 at 11:59 pm to Saturday, March 14 at 11:59 pm along with extending the franchise tag deadline to 11:59 am on Monday, March 16.

That means that the approximately 2,500 current and retired NFL players have to turn in their votes in just a few days to determine whether the NFL owners and the NFL Player’s Association have a deal for the next eleven seasons.

There are plenty of reasons to like this new CBA and just as many reasons to turn it down, and we take a look at what is contained in it and list the predictions and odds of this critical agreement passing.

For more on NFL check out the latest NFL draft news.

What Exactly Is the NFL’s CBA?

The NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is the 456-page labor agreement between the National Football League Player’s Association (NFLPA) and the National Football League (NFL) team owners.

The agreement settles these important issues and more:

  • Distribution of league revenues
  • Health and safety standards
  • Player benefits (pensions and medical)
  • Injury grievances
  • Free Agency
  • Discipline matters (behavior and substance abuse)

The first CBA was negotiated in 1968 after the NFL team owners locked out the players who were striking to increase their minimum salaries, pensions and other various benefits they felt were lacking, with a stoppage of play that lasted eleven days.

There have been six CBA’s negotiated since then along with two strikes (1974 and 1987).

When Was the Last CBA Approved?

The last CBA was negotiated in 2011 after much drama, including the NFLPA filing papers to decertify as a union in order to allow its players to file an antitrust suit against team owners.

The players were locked out and as a result were barred from the training facilities and contacting their coaches, which lasted until the new CBA was in place, negotiated by the NFL owners and then re-recognized NFLPA.

That 2011 CBA included changes to player revenue minimums, rookie pay limits, medical research funding and retired player benefits, the deal set to last for the next ten years until 2021.

Why Do a New CBA If there’s Still a Year Left on the Last One?

The one thing that both the NFL and the NFLPA can agree on is that neither group makes any money if there’s no football, so it benefits both organizations to keep playing games with no lockout, strike or work stoppage of any kind.

And that’s why the negotiations for the next CBA have started an entire year before the current agreement expires since history has proven that these discussions take time because not every agreement is approved the first time through.

Starting this early also prevents having to negotiate a new CBA right after a 2020 NFL season that has to compete with a controversial presidential election, a distraction that will certainly affect the sport’s overall numbers in general and therefore hurt the league’s ability to re-negotiate with the broadcast networks.

How Does the CBA Get Approved?

Once the NFLPA and the NFL owners agree on a certain CBA proposal, the document is drafted and voted on by the NFLPA and, if approved, sent out to all the players for a vote.

There are about 2,500 total NFL players alive right now, some who play currently and many who are retired, and each one gets a vote.

The CBA is approved by a simple majority.

What Happens If the CBA Doesn’t Get Approved?

If this CBA fails to get a majority of votes, then the players will be forced to play the 2020 season under the terms of the previous CBA that will still be in effect until the 2021 season begins.

At that point, the NFLPA and the NFL owners would have to address whatever issues prevented its passage and rework the agreement until its amenable to both sides.

Then that re-written and NFLPA approved CBA would once again be sent out to all the players and put to a vote, and given the pressure of the impending season, the entire process would most likely be incredibly stressful for everyone involved (including the fans!), which is why the two groups are moving on it now.

Why Do So Many Players Want to Change Now Their Vote?

Now that the CBA voting deadline has been extended to Saturday, a lot of players have expressed interest in changing their votes that they have already cast.

Nobody knows for sure why that is, but some have speculated that the complex 456-page CBA took a while for the players to fully understand and many voted before it was totally clear what was contained in the document.

So many players made the request to change their votes, in fact, that the NFLPA had to vote on whether to allow it and in the end declined those players’ requests.

What Major Changes Are Presented in this CBA?

There are many critical changes proposed in this updated NFL CBA.

Here are some of the major ones:

  • The addition of a 17th regular-season game.
  • Three preseason games instead of four.
  • 14 playoff teams instead of 12, so then only one team per conference would earn a postseason bye.
  • Padded practices reduced to 16 (down from 28).
  • Two additional roster spots.
  • Players can miss up to 5 days of offseason work and still earn their full offseason bonus.
  • Retired players receive an increase in benefits, including a raise in their pension.
  • A “funding rule” makeover that increases guaranteed money offers.
  • Injured players who can’t play receiver 100 percent of their salary up to $2 million (up from 50 percent and a $1.2 million cap from before).

There are plenty of more small changes also included, enough to fill 456 pages, in fact.

What Are the Main Financial Points of this CBA?

This new CBA offers both sides a significant financial boost.

For the NFL owners and the league in general, the addition of a 17th regular-season game would cause a substantial financial boost in both revenue and broadcast numbers.

For the NFL players, the bump in the overall revenue split to 48.5 percent means more cash per season, plus the salary cap could actually double in the next 10 years under this CBA if the league’s revenue increases by 6 percent or more per year.

The players would also get a share of the revenue from the legal in-stadium gambling operations that will soon be popping up across the league.

Does this CBA Affect the NFL Drug and Discipline Policy?

Yes, it does – now a neutral “discipline officer” will be in charge of making decisions on punishment for the various violations of the NFL’s personal conduct policy, though the commissioner still has the final say.

In terms of marijuana usage, the new CBA eliminates suspensions for positive tests as well as only allowing testing in the first two weeks of training camp while significantly raising the threshold for a positive test.

There have also been some small changes to the performance-enhancing drug policy plus there is now a 3-game suspension for driving under the influence.

Why WILL the CBA Most Likely Be Approved?

The players affected by this proposed CBA range from millionaire playmakers to the unknowns making the league minimum, so how these players vote and what they feel are important issues depend directly on their own personal priorities.

The fact that retired players will receive a bigger pension and better medical benefits ensures that the majority of that group will vote yes, especially given that most of them aren’t on the millionaire end of the retired NFL player spectrum.

The so-called ‘middle class of the roster,’ meaning those in the financial middle of the road, will benefit the most from this deal (60% of them earn the minimum salary and will thus get a raise), plus an estimated additional $100 million will go to the players overall, so every player will financially benefit on some level.

Why WON’T the current CBA be approved?

Adding the 17th game is a big deal to players – it increases their chance of injury and adds to the amount of work they have to do in a season – and many are wondering if they are receiving fair compensation for that in this CBA.

Also, players have indicated that they want a 50/50 split of the revenues instead of the conditional 48.5 – 48.8 that this new deal offers.

And finally, the players were hoping to gain lifetime medical benefits for retired players and given the danger of the sport they play and the history of lifelong symptoms from the injuries they incur, it seems like a fair request.

Several big-name players have already Tweeted out how they really feel about the CBA:

Predictions and Odds of the NFL CBA Approval

The oddsmakers have gotten in on this action (of course!) and have decided that chances are, this CBA is going to be approved.

Here are the current odds of that happening – make sure you always check back because these odds will change almost daily.

Good luck!

Will the new CBA be ratified by the NFL players?

Yes                 -180

No                  +120

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