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How New CBA Helps Cardinals

NFL: Super Bowl LIV City Views Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

While CBA agreements will not always please all of the players, the new 10-11 year deal, which was ratified today should be of immediate help to the Arizona Cardinals and the vast majority of the 32 teams.

Immediate changes:

  1. Expanded playoffs (2 more wild cards added). Only #1 seeds in the the AFC and NFC are awarded first round byes.
  2. Game day actives will now be increased from 46 players to 48 (one of the 2 extra players has to be an offensive lineman—-to ensure 3 backup OL).
  3. In essence, rosters expand from 53 to 55, because each team can designate 2 practice squad players to the active roster on game days—-which is why—-
  4. Practice squad numbers are increasing from 10 to 12.
  5. Each practice squad player can be brought up two times without exposing them to waivers, if they are demoted. A third time exposes them to waivers. This also means —-
  6. It will be more difficult for teams to sign practice quad players from other teams, because those practice squad players can be designated to the 55 man roster for that week.
  7. Practice squad players who are elevated to the game day rosters will receive higher figure game day checks.
  8. All minimum salaries will be increased by 20%, effective immediately.
  9. Because this is a transition year, teams cannot use both tags (franchise and transition) this off-season. For teams like the Cowboys who have three players they would have considered using tags on in QB Dak Prescott, WR Amari Cooper and CB Byron Jones—-the one tag this year hurts. For a team like the Cardinals who do intend to tag anyone, this means there is a deeper UFA pool this year.
  10. At the beginning of training camp, there will be a 5 day “acclimation period” (no full pads) where there are limitations as to length of the practices (no practice can go more that 2 12 hours). The number of padded, full contact practices has been decreased from 28 to 16. Team cannot run more than three full pad practices in a row.
  11. League disciplinary decisions will now be taken out of Roger Goodell’s hands for good and put into the hands of an league and NFLPA approved arbiter.

Changes starting in 2021:

  1. The owners have the prerogative to agree on a 17 game schedule (which eliminates the 4th pre-season game).
  2. 3 Pre-Season games.
  3. There will be a “mandatory bye week” following the 3rd pre-season game.

I apologize in advance if I have misinterpreted any of the changes—-but having read through several accounts and interpretations, these appear to be the common denominators.

The changes in the CBA are exciting—-and they are particularly beneficial to the players at the back end of the roster.

The weekend of the first round of the playoffs with 3 wild card games a day should be exhilarating! It will keep more teams in the playoff hunt, which, imo, makes the games in December more compelling, hotly contested and interesting.

Most of all, kudos for the negotiations team for getting the new CBA completed and ratified—-and, thereby, avoiding a potential strike.