Proposed CBA Would Make Patriots' Run of Success Very Difficult Moving Forward
NFL owners will meet again today in New York to hash out the new Collective Bargaining Agreement they would like to put in place as soon as possible. Because the current CBA is set to expire in 2021, NFL teams are unable to add void years and have the 30% rule in effect for any players they want to sign this offseason, which seriously hampers their ability to lock up talented players long term. That's why both the NFL and NFLPA would like to get the new CBA in place before free agency opens up on March 18.
On Wednesday, ESPN Insider Adam Schefter shared some of the changes that would go into effect under the proposed CBA. Here are those changes:
- The playoff field would be expanded to seven teams from each conference, while the regular season would be increased to 17 games per team and the preseason shortened to three games per team.
- Only one team from each conference would receive a first-round bye as opposed to the two that currently do.
- The players on teams that earn a first-round bye will receive postseason pay for that weekend.
- Players would go from a 47% revenue share under the current deal to 48% share at 16 games, and then to a 48.5% share if they go to 17 games, shifting $5 billion of revenue to the players' side.
Removing a first-round bye for the no. 2 seed in each conference makes obtaining the no. 1 seed so much more important for NFL teams. This gives the top seed in each conference a big advantage, as they will be the only team with a week of rest heading into the divisional round of the playoffs in their respective conference.
For the Patriots, this makes their run for another championship in the near future very tough. Players like Tom Brady and Julian Edelman can benefit greatly from a week of rest heading into the playoffs. Each of them dealt with several injuries over the course of this past season, mainly because of their age and because of the beating they have taken over the years. So, a week of rest to start the postseason would have allowed them to recover a bit before the final grind. However, when older teams like the Patriots don't get a bye week, a first-round exit is in the works. That was evident last season when New England was beaten by the Titans in the Wild-Card round. And this is all without considering a 17th regular season game, which is also in the new CBA proposal.
With teams like the Ravens, Chiefs, Titans and Texans in the AFC, the Patriots' fight for a top seed is as tough as it has been in recent memory. Tack on the deduction of a bye week, and their fight just got that much harder.