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NFL players will vote on 10-year deal with longer season

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, left, and NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith are set to sign another NFL labor deal - Jason Miller / ©AFP
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, left, and NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith shake hands while displaying the 10-year NFL collective bargaining agreement reached in 2011 (AFP Photo/Jason Miller)

(AFP)

NFL players will vote on a new 10-year contract with owners that could produce a 17-game season for each club and expanded playoffs as quickly as this year.

The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) announced early Wednesday that its board of player representatives had voted to send the proposed collective bargaining agreement approved by NFL team owners last week to a full membership vote.

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An NFL Network report said the vote among player representatives to submit the proposal for a full vote was 17-14 in favor with one abstention.

The move followed four hours of talks between NFL team owners and NFLPA executive committee members and representatives at Indianapolis.

Nearly 2,000 players in the union will vote on the plan with only a majority needed to approve the move.

Exactly when the voting would take place was uncertain but if approved quickly enough, the new agreement could be implemented when the new NFL window for off-field moves for the new season begins on March 18, potentially having an impact on free agent signings and the salary cap.

That would mean a 17-game season per club for the 2020 campaign and expanding the playoffs to 14 teams, adding two extra first-round contests with only the top overall finisher in each conference receiving a first-round bye.

Locking in the extra games could also bring extra broadcast rights riches as the NFL looks at negotiating new deals later this year.

Teams would alternate between eight and nine home games a season with no extra bye week during the campaign.

For playing the extra games, players would see their share of total NFL revenue increase to 48 percent and rosters for each club would expand from 53 ro 55 players, with those eligible for game lineups rising from 46 to 48.

Other parts of the proposal reportedly include a cap on international games, likely keeping the mix of games in Europe and Mexico, and a reduction in training camp practice sessions with pads plus more days off during the pre-season workout period.

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