Compromise possible in push for 18-game schedule

Ross Houston
July 14, 2019

The players are vehemently against that idea, citing injury concerns and pointing to how hard it is for them to play the already grueling 16 game schedule. With the current CBA winding down the end of next year, both management and labor are getting their platforms ready for battle. A good portion of that would be passed down to the players. An analysis done by the NFL Players Association found that up to $2.5 billion in additional annual revenue could be generated with two more games.

BEACH, Fla. - Don't hold your breath waiting for an 18-game National Football League regular season unless the players' association has a major change of heart.

Packers chief executive Mark Murphy floated a compromise on Friday, suggesting the league expand the season one week and use the extra game for worldwide or neutral site appearances.

"I don't see an 18-game schedule - under any circumstance - being in the best interest of our players", NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith told Cameron Wolfe of ESPN. "If somebody wants to make an 18-game proposal, we'll look at it".

The Wall Street Journal reports there are 4,000 injuries in the league per year, and the union estimates adding more games could bring down the average NFL career span from 3.3 years to 2.8. "I haven't seen anything that makes me think that it would be good for the players". "That is crucial because players now become eligible for post-career benefits such as pensions and health insurance after three years". It's easy to say it's more money. "That doesn't work", Smith told ESPN. Imagine teams like the New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, or Los Angeles Chargers having to use a backup kicker and punter for a couple of games. Several potential routes exist here, such as adjusting the salary-cap minimums each team is required to spend in hopes of getting more guaranteed money in contracts and shortening or making restrictions on rookie contracts.

"[Bell] used his power to dictate his own destiny. It's a fact that he chose to make a decision as a grown man", Smith said.

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