BOSTON (CBS) — There will be no NFL lockout in 2021. The league and the players’ union have reached an agreement.
In a vote with a deadline that was delayed until Saturday at midnight, the members of the NFLPA elected to take the deal being offered to them, thus ensuring 10 more years of labor peace. The previous CBA had been set to expire after the 2020 season.
In doing so, the players agreed to 17-game regular seasons and an expanded playoff field. The expanded playoff field will begin in 2020, while the 17-game regular season will begin in 2021.
Notable terms of the new NFL CBA: pic.twitter.com/3vtGFNWEae
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) March 15, 2020
“We are pleased that the players have voted to ratify the proposed new CBA, which will provide subsstantial benefits to all current and retired players, increase jobs, ensure continued progress on player safety, and give our fans more and better football,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. “We appreciate the tireless efforts of the members of the Management Council Executive Committee and the NFLPA leadership, both of whom devoted nearly a year to detailed, good faith negotiations to reach this comprehensive, transformative agreement.”
Despite passing, the vote — 1,019 for, 959 against — showed a divided union.
Our statement on the CBA vote: pic.twitter.com/3pXydLLQ9c
— NFLPA (@NFLPA) March 15, 2020
The news Sunday now allows the NFL to go forward with normal offseason business. As of now, that schedule includes:
Monday, March 16, 11:59:59 a.m. ET: Deadline for teams to apply franchise tag or transition tag on players
Monday, March 16, 12 p.m. ET: Legal tampering period begins
Wednesday, March 18, 4 p.m. ET: Free agency begins
That timeline, however, is subject to change. With the rest of the professional sports world shutting down operations, and with numerous NFL facilities closed amid the coronavirus pandemic, it’s possible that the NFL postpones the dates.
That news figures to prominently impact Tom Brady, whose impending free agency has been the biggest story of the NFL’s offseason. After news broke Sunday morning, Brady tweeted support for NFLPA director DeMaurice Smith.
Well done De
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) March 15, 2020
That part is yet to be determined. For now, though, one significant step in the NFL offseason has been taken.