New CBA Brings Immediate Changes for 2020 NFL Season

The NFL and NFLPA have agreed to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that will remain in effect through the 2030 season – here’s what happens immediately.

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JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 1, 2019 - NFL 100 football during the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. The Buccaneers won the game, 28-11. Photo By Tori Richman/Tampa Bay Buccaneers

On Sunday, the NFLPA voted to approve the new proposed Collective Bargaining Agreement that will dictate league operations through 2030. While the previous CBA wasn't set to expire until 2021, the new agreement will make the transition seamless – and mean some immediate changes for the upcoming 2020 NFL season.

Perhaps the most widely known change affects the salary cap. With free agency set to open (as of the timing of this article) on Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET and a two-day legal tampering period beginning Monday at noon ET, teams will now be working with a little more capital. The salary cap has been increased to $198.2 million per team, up exactly $10 million from 2019. The Buccaneers are in the top five for cap space in 2020 with an estimated $84 million available for the top 51 players, according to Spotrac.com. It provides them much-needed flexibility with some 23 pending free agents – especially considering that teams can no longer use both franchise and transition tags, they must now choose.

Barring any delays, teams can begin negotiations with licensed representatives of free agent players from any team on Monday at noon and can reach agreements at the start of the league year on Wednesday.

Another major change that will take an immediate effect from the new CBA is a new playoff structure that will include two more teams to the playoff field. A total of seven teams from each conference will make it to the postseason now.

And there will be more players to do so with. Though the roster limit will continue to be 53 for 2020, two players from the practice squad may be brought up to increase roster sizes to 55 on gameday, with those two players reverting back to the practice squad after gameday. Practice squads will also be increased in size from 10 players to 12 beginning this season.

Active gameday rosters will also grow from 46 to 48, provided one of those extra players activated is an offensive lineman.

Players also get a larger share of the revenue – set to 47% in 2020 and then increasing to at least 48% in 2021 with an option to increase to 48.5% if the season increases to 17 games by then. Players that earn league minimum will also see their salaries increase and there will be an average of a 12% increase for performance-based pay. According to an article on NFL.com, the league estimates as much as an additional $100 million will go to players this season.

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