The new CBA proposal is intriguing for a variety of reasons. The complexity of it all is enough to make a sports attorney salivate, meanwhile the psychological and physical consequences of the deal have sports psychologists and physicians pondering what this will do to the future of the NFL. While the deal can be perceived as being beneficial to both the owners and the players, the real question is whether the deal makes sense for the National Football League (“NFL”) as a whole. The answer to that question is as intricate as the proposed deal itself. While the owners and the players are essentially the official members of the NFL, I believe this deal affects the fans as well as the league’s future players. Put simply, this proposal could have a lasting impact on the league.
The NFL is currently concerned about the safety of its players due to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (“CTE”) findings, and rightfully so. The findings are troublesome and have prompted some young NFL players to consider early retirement for fear of future mental illnesses. So, while the revenue split between the owners and players would move from 47 to 48.5%, players would be forced to play an extra regular season game. Is that worth it for the players? That depends on whom you ask. Stars who have big contracts as well as prime sponsorships, such as J.J. Watt and Russell Wilson, are strongly opposed to this deal. Whereas, lesser-known players, the ones who make up the majority of the league, would be all for a deal that would ultimately give them more money in their pocket at the end of the day. For star players who are making millions off the field in endorsements and other business ventures, adding one more game to an already grueling schedule in exchange for a little more money is a deal-breaker. Likewise, there are 2nd and 3rd string players who make around the league minimum salary at $480k per year who understand their playing careers could potentially last 1-2 more years. Thus, it is important they make as much money as possible each year, and in this case the new CBA deal would make sense. Additionally, will future NFL stars in the college ranks forego careers in the NFL for fear of injury due to the increased schedule length? The NFL has seen several great players the last 3 years retire in the primes of their careers specifically due to fear of CTE. Could the added schedule push more players to early retirement? Only time will tell.
NFL fans around the country should be enthused by this deal because it means more football. The regular season schedule would include an added game as well as 2 extra games in the 1st round of the playoffs. What’s not to love? However, the added schedule could mean more serious injuries for players which in turn could lead some parents to question whether or not they should allow their children to play the sport. Participation in high school football around the country has been declining the past few years, and high school athletes could decide to partake in other sports if they feel there are too many negative consequences associated with playing football long term. The NFL and football are not disappearing anytime soon, but the NFL has to be concerned with the declining levels of participation. I am not sure this deal will impact youth involvement, and if this deal is made we would have to wait 10-15 years for more conclusive evidence. Bottom line, as a fan of the NFL I would be excited about the possibility of a few more games each year.
Any proposed CBA deal will come with scrutiny. While we did not dive into the added specifics of the deal, on the surface level I believe this deal all depends on what each individual player values. If its a player who values the money, then you hope this deal is made. If it’s a player who is more concerned with their overall health and wellness, then this deal has its flaws. Overall, it will be intriguing to see the arguments being made on both sides of the aisle, both for and against this proposed CBA.