One of the big questions surrounding free agency and the NFL in general in recent weeks has been what the rules for the league to operate under as a result of the proposed CBA that the owner had sent to the players for their vote weeks ago. That question appears to have been answered, as the players reportedly voted to approve the proposal.
Sources to ESPN: NFL players voted to approve the proposed CBA, giving the NFL 10 more years of labor peace, players an increased share of revenue, former players added benefits, and the league 17-game regular seasons along with an expanded playoff field.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 15, 2020
One source said the final player vote on the NFL's new CBA was 1019-959. It was that close.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 15, 2020
So, in what was a very close vote, the players agreed to a contract that will ensure labor peace through the 2030 NFL season. What the vote in favor of the 2020 season means for fans and teams include the following:
- Only one franchise or transition tag per team, not both,
- Elimination of the 30% rule for contracts, allowing for teams to create cap space and use more aggressive contract structures,
- Salary cap for the 2020 season should be announced soon, and is likely to be just above $200M,
- Contractual incentives will use standard look back methodology for differentiating NLTBE and LTBE incentives and
- Significant minimum salary increases and RFA tender increases.
That is just a handful of the changes that will come as a result of the CBA gaining player approval, however. More of what will change will be detailed in the coming days and weeks, but for now the players seem to have approved a CBA in spite of opposition from high profile players such as Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers and others. In particular, former Seattle Seahawks left tackle, currently of the Carolina Panthers, Russell Okung is likely to continue his fight against the CBA based on the procedure by which it was approved.
However, whether the NFL will continue with free agency and the draft in the coming weeks as are currently scheduled seems to hinge more on outside issues rather than questions regarding the labor agreement.