INDIANAPOLIS — Aaron Rodgers, Richard Sherman and J.J. Watt all are future Hall of Famers, but their vote counts the same as the last man on every NFL roster when it comes to the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
So, despite opposition from superstars, NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith is confident the new CBA will be approved sometime soon and a work stoppage won’t be necessary this decade.
The 32 NFL player reps narrowly voted to approve the 10-year deal earlier this week but the full membership (more than 2,000 players) must decide. Majority approval is needed for it to pass. Non-voters don’t factor in.
“For a player that doesn’t want 17 [games] under any reason,” Smith said, “those players will vote their conscience.”
About 60 percent of the players earn the NFL minimum salary, which jumps by about $100,000 in 2020 and tops $1 million per year by 2029. A tough raise to turn down regardless of other factors.
“There was a concerted effort that they wanted this CBA to go to those core players,” Smith said Thursday, before speaking to agents at the NFL Combine.
March 18 marks the start of a new league year. The CBA calls for a 17-game regular season beginning in 2021 or 2022, expanded playoffs in 2020, player revenue share rising to 48 percent (an increase of about $3.5 billion) and beyond, larger roster sizes, fewer contact practices in the offseason and much more.
“Democracy is messy,” Smith said. “And when you urge players to become part of a union … how could you ever take a position that you have some sort of adverse effect if they express their feelings? Can you imagine a role where you go through this whole thing and nobody cared?”