How the new CBA changes the NFL landscape

by - Staff Writer -
Kirby Lee - USA Today Sports
Kirby Lee - USA Today Sports

With the way things have been going this NFL offseason and free agency thus far, it has honestly been a sense of relief giving us something to follow outside of COVID 19. With all our sports now postponed until Mid-May at the earliest, football has the advantage as they get to take center stage at a time when they wouldn’t be.

This would generally be the time for March Madness, the NBA and NHL playoff hunt, MLS underway, and MLB on the verge of the regular season getting underway. Instead, the NFL Free agency period and other key parts of the offseason have filled the headlines as we simply cannot enjoy watching sports now.

Along with the Bears signing Jimmy Graham, Robert Quinn, and trading for Nick Foles, the team has also lost a ton from last season's team, leaving them with more cap space than they previously had. This will go a long way to the rest of free agency and as we approach the NFL draft. One thing that may have been lost in the shuffle was that of the new CBA agreement and how it helps and effects the NFL going forward.

As expected, players and owners have agreed on a new CBA, which runs through 2030. Given the problems that occurred during the last CBA agreement, this is a pleasant sign that we got this done without any real snags in the process. Obviously, with every deal, there are going to be tons of changes, but we will look at the most prominent changes.

First and more most is the adding of a 17th regular-season game. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone as this has been talked about for years. With the preseason being if it is, often too long, if you ask most fans, adding a 17th game could be the solution to that as I see the preseason being cut by one week, if not two.

The additional game will certainly make things interesting for not only scheduling but the entire playoff picture also. Instead of having teams tied with the tiebreaker taking effect in week 17, the additional game would make things that much more interesting for one week as we could see significant movement in the playoff seedings.

I am not a fan of the 17-game schedule, however, as I have come to love the 16-game schedule. I am in favor of removing two preseason games, or at the very least, but adding a regular-season game does me nothing. One change I would love the NFL to make is change the way the current pro bowl is. As of now, the only sport that plays their all-star game at the end of the season is football, and often the best players don’t attend.

Every team gets one bye week correct. Why not make week nine the universal bye week for everyone? You would play eight games, have your bye week then play eight more games. During the bye week is when the NFL could host the pro bowl, which would maybe have the best players attend instead of sitting out. Not to mention, it is a chance for players to want to go versus going by default.

The other significant change that comes as a surprise is the adding of two playoff teams, one from each conference. What makes this notable is that now, instead of two teams having the first-round bye, only the one seed would. That means that the Bears would have been in the playoff hunt another week this past season, but ultimately the Rams would have gotten the seven seed and then who knows what would have happened.

This is the part of the new CBA I love the most, but I would still tweak it even more. I hate the fact that the NFL gives the top two seeds a bye week even though you earned. Every other sport, the top seed earns the top seed, but you don’t see them getting a bye. Why not make the playoff format like every other sport minus baseball and go with eight teams per conference?

That way, you are going with the standard seeding of 1-8, 2-7, 3-6, 4-5, and it would eliminate the first-round bye. This wouldn’t be a hard change to make either as the playoffs would still start on time and end at the same time. You would just be adding four additional games on the opening weekend, but otherwise, everything else would stay the same. You could even eliminate a preseason game if you wanted to allow this to happen.

I don’t think the 17-game schedule is going to last past this new CBA, but I also don’t believe an eight-team playoff will ever happen unless we see the positive feedback from the new seven-game format. Other changes to the new CBA include an increase in minimum salaries based on performance-based revenues, a new salary cap set at just under 199 million, two additional roster spots for each team, a decrease in padded practices, and a boost in pensions for retired players.

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