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The New NFL CBA Explained

April 11, 2020 ryan_blumenfeld 3 min read

The New NFL CBA Explained

April 11, 2020 Ryan Blumenfeld 3 min read

By: Ryan Blumenfeld

NFL owners approve new CBA, but the players might not be in lockstep
Photo courtesy of Touchdown Wire

On March 14th, NFL players and owners voted on a new proposed collective bargaining agreement (CBA), that will change the game forever. The new CBA contains a set of rules that will be in place until 2030, helping the NFL ensure labor peace. The new CBA was highly controversial and was passed on a tight vote with 1019 voting “yes” and 959 voting “no”. Despite its passing, many of the most influential players in the league have spoken their disapproval of it on social media:

The CBA changes the structure of the season, revenue split, salaries, drug policies, labor rules, rosters, holdouts, and international games. Here are the most notable changes in regulations and rules:

Season Structure

  • 2020: 16 game regular season schedule, but the postseason has been expanded from 12 to 14 teams with only 1 team in each division receiving a first-round bye.  
  • 2021-2023: The NFL has the ability to expand the league from 16 games to 17 games

Revenue Split

  • 2020: Owners get 53% and the players get 47%
  • 2021-2030: Owners get 52% and the players get 48%

Player Salaries

  • Increases in the minimum salary- by 2029 the league minimum will be 1 million
  • Players will be compensated for the extra game when/if the league moves to a 17 game season

Drug Policies

  • More emphasis on clinical care instead of punishment (players who do clinical care cannot be suspended)
  • Reduction in punishment for marijuana use
    • Players will only be punished for more than 150 grams
    • No suspension for being charged with the possession of marijuana 
  • Three game suspension for DUIs (increased from before)

Labor Rules

  • Veteran players who have played for four or more seasons can skip up to five days of workouts, including one OTA, without losing their offseason workout bonus
  • A mandatory three-game break after Thursday game
  • A maximum of 12 hours at team facilities per day
  • There must be 16 or fewer days of padded practice during training camp and no more than 3 days in a row of padded practice
  • If the league decides to go to a 17 game regular season, teams cannot have more than 14 days of padded practice, and 11 of those must be during the first 11 weeks  


  • Teams can designate another player to return to play after being placed on IR each year (changed from 2 to 3)
  • Active gameday rosters are increased from 46 to 48 
  • 2021: Practice squads are increased from 10 to 12 players
  • 2022: Practice squads will be increased to 14 players 


International Rules

  • Increased fines for players who holdout or leave training camp early without permission
  • Players who are under contract with a team who fails to report to training camp or leaves the team for more than 5 days will not be eligible to earn an accrued season for that year
  • 2020-2025: No more than 10 international games per season
  • Players on teams that play more than one international game per season will be paid an additional $5,000 per additional game

Why This Passed

The CBA passed because the NFL targeted issues that would benefit the players who make the least money, the blue-collar players. These players make up the majority of the league. Instead of proposing rules that would benefit the stars, they chose rules that would benefit the lesser-known players, knowing that it would allow them to sneak in rules that would never be passed on their own such as the 17 game season.

Ryan Blumenfeld

I am a current Junior at the Gilman School in Baltimore, MD. I'm a huge Baltimore Ravens fan and love everything NFL related.

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