As talks continue for a new collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the players’ union, the most dramatic proposal on the table from owners is an expanded regular season to 17 games that could eliminate preseason games in their entirety, sources told ESPN.
The NFL Players Association is not interested in an expanded season, especially without a significant increase in its piece of the revenue pie.
In July, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith told ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe that idea of a then-discussed 18-game schedule would not be in the players’ best interest.
The Athletic first reported the owners’ push for a 17-game regular season.
NFL owners had imposed the start of the season as a deadline for a new CBA, and even though the 2019 season is underway without a new deal, sources on both sides believe that important progress has been made and a deal is getting closer.
There even are those who believe that the CBA stands a strong chance of getting done this season, sources told ESPN.
For now, both parties are committed to talking and will resume talks after Smith finishes his annual visits with all 32 NFL teams.
But NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, pitted against each other during talks on the commissioner’s contract a couple of years ago, are leading the way to push through a new CBA at some time this season, league sources said.
The current CBA between NFL players and owners expires after the 2020 season.