The NFL Players Association passed a new collective bargaining agreement at 11:59 on Saturday, ensuring ten years of labor peace with the owners group and clearing the way for a 17-game season as early as 2021, ESPN reported.
The deal would increase the players’ share of league revenues to 48% from 47% in 2021 and to at least 48.5% when there are 17 regular season games on the schedule. The agreement will also expand the playoff field from 12 to 14 teams as soon as the 2020 season.
The vote passed, 1019-959, with a simple majority necessary for approval. The 10-day voting period closed at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday night, with many votes having been cast before the recent coronavirus outbreak that has canceled much of the sports world. The Players Association announced that it would not allow players to change their votes once they were cast.
“I think that’s something we knew, that it would be close,” new NFLPA president JC Tretter told ESPN of the close vote. “We just came out of our rep meeting and we had a sense of that based on the discussions. But just as with anything, the majority rules.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement saying, “We are pleased that the players have voted to ratify the proposed new CBA, which will provide substantial benefits to all current and retired players, increase jobs, ensure continued progress on player safety, and give our fans more and better football.”