clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Bears prepared for two realities as union debates NFL’s proposed CBA

General manager Ryan Pace said his team was ready for two financial realities: one in which the NFL and the players’ union agreed on a new collective-bargaining agreement, effective immediately, and one in which it didn’t.

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith speaks at the annual state of the union news conference in Miami Beach, Fla., last month.
AP Photos

INDIANAPOLIS — Bears general manager Ryan Pace said Tuesday that his team was ready for two financial realities: one in which the NFL and the players’ union agreed on a new collective-bargaining agreement, effective immediately, and one in which it didn’t.

‘‘We’re prepared for either one,’’ Pace said. ‘‘I think that’s us just doing our due diligence either way, and we’ll see how it plays out.’’

It’s looking likely that an agreement is coming.

Owners and members of the NFL Players Association’s executive committee and board of directors met for almost four hours Tuesday night. After 1 a.m. Wednesday, the union announced its full membership — all NFL players — would vote on the CBA. It would need a simple majority vote to pass, which is likely.

On Thursday, owners proposed a new CBA that would increase the NFL’s regular season from 16 to 17 games, expand the playoffs by one team per conference and put limits on preseason practices and, perhaps, games. The CBA would guarantee the players 48 percent of revenue in 2021, up 1 percentage point from the previous deal, and provide substantial raises for minimum-salary players.

The NFLPA’s board of representatives met Friday but decided not to vote on the proposal. Its executive committee voted 6-5 not to recommend the proposed CBA that it had helped negotiate over 10 months.

At issue is that an extra regular-season game would expose players to a greater risk of injury. Owners have claimed in recent years — to the skepticism of some players — that player safety is a top concern.

Asked whether the labor uncertainty colored his conversations with agents, Pace said he hadn’t felt that at all. The Bears would benefit from the new CBA, as it would give them — and other teams — more salary cap space in 2020.

The owners said in a statement last week that they would move forward under the final year of the current CBA if a new deal isn’t reached this week.