ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Troy Vincent, the NFL's executive vice president of football operations, is optimistic that players will vote to ratify the proposed collective bargaining agreement.
Voting on the CBA is expected to conclude on March 14 after the deadline was extended Monday by two days. The terms of the CBA has been clouded in debate with a number of players, including Aaron Rodgers and Richard Sherman, feeling this is not a good deal for the players and the union is not getting enough.
A simple majority of the over 2,000 members of the association is needed for the CBA to pass.
“I’m optimistic right now that the players have their vote, the owners have made a decision what their position is, but I’m very optimistic that the partnership will stay in place,” Vincent told SportsIllustrated.com.
He then added why he's feeling good that the CBA, which would run through the 2030 season, will be ratified by the player membership.
“Just indications of what I’ve actually read and what I’ve read through the media or what I’ve seen through the media but I’m very optimistic," Vincent said. "Labor peace is good for the game and I think the player leadership and owner leadership will come to a place of labor peace, continue the great game.”
Vincent is the first league executive to speak publicly about the proposed CBA, which owners approved Feb. 20, although the vote was not unanimous. None of the owners have spoken about the CBA, either.
Not so regarding the players, led by Rodgers and Sherman.
In fact, Russell Okung, an NFLPA executive committee member, reportedly filed an unfair labor practice charge against the union, accusing executive director DeMaurice Smith of forcing a league-wide players vote even though the committee voted against recommending the CBA.
Among the proposed provisions is adding a 17th game to the schedule as well as roster expansion including an increase in the practice squad, an addtional playoff team and wild-card game in each conference and a higher percentage of revenue for players. There is an increase in the salary cap and player salaries as a whole.
Despite some concerns from players including the addition of a regular season game and the nominal increase in their revenue percentage (from 48% to 48.5%), Vincent said he expects the CBA to go through this week with approval from the players. The current CBA expires after thed 2020 season.
The league hopes to get this deal done now ahead of the start of free agency on March 18, which signals the beginning of the new league year.
Vincent spoke to SportsIllustrated.com at the Maxwell Football Club’s annual awards gala this weekend at the Tropicana Atlantic City, where he was honored on Friday night. The former 15-year NFL cornerback was joined by award winners such as Chase Young (Chuck Bednarik Award as college football’s top defensive player), Anthony Munoz (the Tropicana Legends Award) and Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh (Greasy Neale award for best professional football head coach).
Not surprisingly given his current role in the league's front office, Vincent is in favor of the deal. As a former player who now is employed by the league office, he argues that both ownership and the players benefit from the current agreement.
Vincent’s view on the new CBA is also formed as a former Senior Vice President of Player Engagement and president of the player’s union. He said that a key part of the new CBA is better care for former players.
The impact of the new CBA on retired players includes pension increases, a higher matching threshold on player 401K accounts, tuition reimbursement increases, injury protection of 100% of a salary up to $2 million as well as other benefits.
“I’ve been part of three labor agreements, there’s always give and take. There’s always agree, disagree," Vincent said. "You always want to try and position a partnership where there is win-win on both sides. Here you see, as a former alum, a legend – the benefit increases that have passed each of us – myself personally.
“To see that players and management have come together to take care of the greats…it is a great thing. I don’t want to get into the specifics but I think both sides will find areas that they believe they have gains in but there is nothing like a partnership and labor peace.”