Thanks to the union, the final CBA proposal has been made available online. All 456 pages. Ballots were sent out to players first thing on Thursday morning to vote on ratification of the proposed CBA. Players have a week to vote, as voting ends Thursday, March 12. Albert Breer reported that lawyers for the NFL and NFLPA finalized the new CBA language at 2:30 a.m. last night. There were a few new developments, like games being played outside of the United States:
Section 5. Regular Season Games Played Outside of the United States: (a) In any League Year in which the NFL regular season consists of seventeen games, the extra week shall not consist entirely of international games.
Before any Club is scheduled to play 3 or more regular season international games in a season, other than for a reason set forth in the preceding paragraph, the NFL will meet and confer with the NFLPA to consider impacts to underlying business justifications and player health, safety, and working conditions, as described in Subsection (c).
Players are awarded a $5,000 stipend for all games played outside of the US. That’s a new one.
Updated language on potential holdouts
Another interesting talking point was about players potentially holding out.
Training Camp. If a player commits a Forfeitable Breach resulting in his absence for six preseason days after the start of training camp, the player may be required to forfeit up to 15% of his Forfeitable Salary Allocations, and up to an additional 1% of his Forfeitable Salary Allocations for each additional preseason day missed after the six days, up to a maximum of 25% of his Forfeitable Salary Allocations. A player who misses five days or less of training camp may not be subject to forfeiture.
(iii) Regular Season. If the player is not subject to Subsection (ii) above, and commits a Forfeitable Breach for the first time that League Year during the regular season, the player may be required to forfeit up to twenty-five percent (25%) of his Forfeitable 13 Salary Allocations upon missing his first regular season game. If player’s Forfeitable Breach continues beyond four (4) consecutive weeks, then player may be required to forfeit up to his remaining Forfeitable Salary Allocations on a proportionate weekly basis (i.e., one seventeenth for each missed regular season week after the fourth week).
This may be mean the end of early-round draft picks holding out or players that can’t reach long-term deals and miss time during training camp.
Substance abuse suspensions
The biggest change in the proposals is how the league will handle drug tests. The latest proposal will remove all suspensions for positive tests. Now, players will be subject to fines instead. Players in sage one of the program which tests positive won’t face any penalties. They’ll be put into stage two, where if the player tests positive, that’s when he’d be subjected to fines. The first violation would cause a player to lose on]ne half of a game check. The second violation would cause the player to lose a week’s pay. The third violation would result in a loss of two week’s salary, and the fourth violation and anything after is a three-game fine. So the players will potentially lose out on a lot of m]money, but they’ll never have to miss playing time.
The only way you can be suspended under the new CBA is if you fail to cooperate with the testing process, and even then, the suspension would happen after the fourth violation, where a player would miss three games. The fifth violation would result in a four-game suspension, the sixth violation an eight-game suspension, and the seventh would mean you’re banished for a year. At that point, you’re asking the league to kick you out. The third stage of the substance-abuse program has been removed from the CBA.
Several players around the league are tweeting about the new CBA telling other players to vote no.