NEW YORK(KDKA/AP) – As the NFL heads into its final week of the regular season with some playoff seeds yet to be determined, discussions over the collective bargaining agreement are beginning to heat up.
The current CBA expires on March 4 and many people, including players and owners, are fearing a lockout.
Some members of the NFLPA executive committee said the owners and players are beginning to feel a sense of urgency to avoid a lockout and alienate fans.
The NFLPA is optimistic, yet frustrated at the same time with the league’s current offer. The owners would like to increase the regular season from 16 games to 18 and reduce the pre-season from four games to two.
In addition, the owners would like to reduce the percentage of revenue sharing between players and owners.
Currently, the players take about 60 percent of the team’s revenue for salary. Many owners want to see that number brought under 50 percent.
NFLPA player reps Brian Dawkins and Mike Vrabel said the league hasn’t offered enough in return for what they believe will be shorter careers – and therefore less money made – with the longer regular season resulting in more punishment for players’ bodies.
“I don’t think with good conscience we could say, ‘Guys, this is all we could get for you for 18 games. Go out there and strap it up and hope you make it through,’” said Vrabel, a veteran linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith sent a letter to players to remind them to save money in preparation for the lockout.
In addition to the letter, the union has set aside funds of $60,000 per player by raising dues and withholding royalties.