NFL players approve labor deal, including 17-game season

Sports

FILE – In a Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020 file photo, Eric Winston, president of the NFL Players Association, speaks at the annual state of the NFLPA press conference, in Miami Beach, Fla. NFL players have approved a new labor agreement with the league that features a 17-game regular season, higher salaries, increased roster sizes and larger pensions for current and former players. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)

NFL players have approved a new labor agreement with the league that features a 17-game regular season, higher salaries, increased roster sizes and larger pensions for current and former players.

Results were announced Sunday.

The deal, which runs through the 2030 season, was accepted by the 32 team owners last month. The NFL Players Association’s membership spent the last week voting on the 439-page document after its executive board narrowly rejected it by a 6-5 vote. The player representatives voted 17-14 in favor, with one abstention.

The total vote, among the nearly 2,500 union members who participated, was 1,109-959. Ratification required a simple majority.

There was some strong player opposition to the collective bargaining agreement. Many stars, including Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, J.J. Watt and Todd Gurley, spoke out against it.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell praised the players’ acceptance of the new CBA. Goodell said in a statement that it 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.”

Soon after the union announced the voting results, it began discussing with the league the planned opening of the 2020 NFL business season on Wednesday with free agency and trades. A delay is possible given league restrictions on travel as a safeguard against the new coronavirus.

A 17-game schedule won’t happen before the 2021 season. The mechanics for an uneven number of games – neutral sites or which teams get nine home games – will be worked out in the interim.

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