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Report: NFL Owners Suggested 18-Game Schedule With 16-Game Limit for Players

Team owners are reportedly interested in a longer regular-season schedule with a twist.

During the most recent collective bargaining session, NFL owners revived conversations about expanding the regular season to 18 games, according to The Wall Street Journal's Andrew Beaton.

To address health concerns, the owners suggested the idea of limiting players to 16 games during the 18-game schedule and expanding rosters, reports Beaton.

Owners are enticed by the idea of a longer season considering the more revenue it could create. 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. That would add $15 million to each team's salary cap and give players more money.

However, players say adding more games takes away from their arguments made during bargaining sessions. Players worry over the increase in injuries that happen late in the season and see that risk rising in a potential 17th and 18th game.

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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. That dip is important because players become eligible for post-career benefits like health insurance and pensions after three years.

Players also reportedly think that the 16-game limit is unrealistic because they don't want to be forced to sit out games when the stakes are high. 

"No players are banging down my door asking me to think about this," said Eric Winston, president of the NFLPA.

Owners previously suggested an 18-game schedule during 2011, when a 132-day lockout threatened the start of the season. The current collective bargaining agreement doesn't end until after the 2020 season.