Changes are reportedly coming to the NFL's playoff structure.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the current CBA proposal includes seven teams from each conference making the the playoffs (currently six teams from each conference make the playoffs), with only one team per conference getting a bye.
The new rule would add one more Wild Card team per conference (meaning the Steelers and Rams would have made the playoffs last season), while putting extra importance on securing the number one seed.
Also of note in the new CBA, the players on the teams with a first-round bye would now be compensated for that weekend, whereas they currently are not.
Schefter notes that the changes would take effect immediately, with a source saying "That's been agreed to for a long time."
The new league collective bargaining agreement has not been completed just yet, but Schefter reports that "there is now mounting optimism it could be done sometime in the next week."
One issue that remains in getting a new deal done involves adding a 17th regular-season game for each team, though that change, if it happens, would not come into effect until the 2021 season.
SNY's Ralph Vacchiano has confirmed through sources that reports of the CBA being close are accurate, though a few sources cautioned it's more likely to take until pretty close the start of the new league year, March 18, for it to officially become agreed to.
If it gets close, the start of free agency could be theoretically delayed, per Vacchiano, and there remains significant opposition to the 17-game season among the players, though the NFLPA thinks they can sell it based on other concessions they're getting from the owners