On Sunday, a very narrow vote by the NFL players was in favor of approving the new CBA through the 2030 season. It was a 1,019-959 vote that worked in creating many new aspects for current and former players around the league.
"NFL players have voted to approve ratification of a new collective bargaining agreement by a vote tally of 1,019 to 959," the NFLPA wrote in a statement. "The result comes after a long and democratic process in accordance with our constitution. An independent auditor received submitted ballots through a secure electronic platform, then verified, tallied and certified the results."
So what exactly did this new CBA change for the short- and long-term future of the league? Here are a few new rules that stand out...
1) 17-game schedule: This has been a change that players and owners have battled about for years, but it has finally gone through. Starting in the 2021 season, teams will play 17 games with an extra week added to the schedule. With that, more revenues goes to the team through tickets and arena-related sales, and the big kicker: new TV deals. Players will be receiving more compensation because of this extra week as well.
2) 14-team playoff: Not only is there one more added game, but there will be two more teams able to play for the Lombardi Trophy. And that's going to happen this season. In 2020, we will see one extra Wild Card team from each conference make it to the playoffs. How will it work out exactly? Well, the top seed from each conference will be the only ones getting a bye. So the second-seeded team in each conference will now have to play in that opening round.
3) Shorter preseason: Because one extra week is going to be added, there will be one less preseason game for players to participate in. So, once the new league schedule kicks in, all teams will have just three preseason games to work with.
4) Training camp changes: Focusing on player safety, the league is implementing new training camp rules as well. The first is the introduction of a 5-day "acclimation period," which will give players time to get up to speed before jumping right into practices. Also, there is a limit to 16 days of in-pad workouts -- a big step in trying to limit players getting roughed up before the season even starts. And finally, only four joint practices are allowed once the new league schedule kicks in.
5) Marijuana policies: Suspensions for testing positive are no longer allowed under this new CBA, which is a huge change. A positive test is also more levels of THC found per milliliter of urine. It was 35 nanograms, but now it is 150. Testing at training camp will also only be subject to two weeks instead of four months.
6) Revenue dispersement: Players' revenue has increased to a guaranteed 48 percent in 2021, while a "media kicker" can move that to 48.5 percent once the league begins to play 17 games per season. This is a one percent increase from the previous CBA. Also, minimum salaries for rookies saw a $100,000 increase for 2020, with additional $50,000 increases in 2021 and $45,000 in the years following that. Other minimum salaries are at least $90,000 increased in 2020.
7) Roster increase: Instead of the normal 53-man roster everyone has been used to, there will be two more players added to it for a full 55-man roster. Also, the active squad has one more offensive lineman allowed on it.