New NFL CBA narrowly approved: biggest changes and impact on Seahawks

NFLPA approves the new CBA with 51.5% approval
NFLPA approves the new CBA with 51.5% approval

The National Football League Player’s Association (NFLPA) took weeks to discuss the league’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement, and Sunday finally brought an answer.

A very narrow answer. Out of 1,978 player votes, 1,019 voted “yes” and 959 voted “no.” Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner both expressed their public disapproval of the new CBA before the vote.

The new agreement will last through 2030, as the current CBA was set to expire at the end of the 2020 season. So, a future lockout was avoided by the approval.

Here are the most important changes fans will want to know:

  • Playoffs will be expanded to allow 14 teams (previously 12) which adds one extra team from the AFC and NFC (now 7 each)
  • The NFL will transition to 17 regular season games (previously 16) by 2021, not this season
  • The minimum salary on contracts will increase by $100,000
  •  Team salary caps increase 5% from 2019 to $198.2 million, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter
  • Active roster size increases to 55 players, and 48 active players on game day (previously 46)
  • Teams are limited to use only ONE of the following in order to keep  a player from going into free agency: a franchise tag *or* transition tag. Under the former CBA, they could use both in one offseason

Impact on the Seahawks

With the cap space changes, the Seattle Seahawks will have about $39 million in cap space to work with in free agency.

Practice squads are likely to increase in size, and that’s something head coach Pete Carroll has pushed for over a long period.

There are players like Wagner and Wilson that disapproved of the new CBA, and there are obviously players on Seattle’s roster that voted “for” the new CBA. It’s unlikely to cause any problems within the team and its chemistry, but there’s no way it’s not going to be discussed amongst the team in the near future.

Adding a wildcard team to each conference this season (2020) is going to be helpful, even though Seattle has already made the playoffs in eight of the past ten seasons. The NFC West will likely remain tough, with the L.A. Rams and Arizona Cardinals expected to improve next season. However, by adding a wild card team, one of the first-round byes will be eliminated from each conference. Home-field advantage may be taken away in this instance.

For now, there is still reason to be grateful that there was at least a decision made. No lockouts!