The language of the proposed collective bargaining agreement was finalized late Wednesday night and is going out to NFL players Thursday morning, a league source told ESPN’s Jeff Darlington.
The ballots were sent out at 9 a.m. ET Thursday, and the voting window will stay open for seven days, a source told ESPN’s Dan Graziano.
Players will be able to cast a vote throughout the seven-day window, but they currently plan to wait the full allotted time before formalizing the results, meaning ratification is unlikely until later next week, an NFL Players Association source told Darlington.
If a majority of the voting players approve, the deal will go into place immediately, as the owners already have approved it. NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith expressed confidence last week that the players would vote it through.
The new CBA would expand the NFL’s playoff field by two teams starting with the 2020 season and allow the owners the option to expand the regular season from 16 games to 17 games as early as 2021.
But those are only the big-headline items. More than just a deal to increase the number of games played each season, this is a document that will establish and govern the rules under which the game is played, contracts are negotiated and rules are administered for the next 11 years, through the 2030 season.
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