CBA approved by NFL players

By Tim Monk (@Tim_MonkF10Y)

It’s an historic day in the NFL amidst all the uncertainty at the moment about the new league year and beyond with the looming hindrance of the Coronavirus outbreak with Free Agency/rookie pro days scheduled in jeopardy along with the potential postponement of the draft.

However in the past few hours and after months of negotiation, it has been confirmed that the NFL players have agreed to the terms of the new Collection Bargaining Agreement.

The deal was voted on by the players over the last 10 days and the final vote turned out in favour of passing the deal by 1019 votes to 959, as only a simple majority was required. This means just 51.5% of players voted in agreement of the change (something we know a great deal about here in the UK #brexit). More of concern though, is that only around 80% of the players voted. Reasons as to why the 20% or so didn’t remains to be seen.

Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL issued a statement, saying:

“We are pleased that the players have voted to ratify the proposed new CBA, which will provide substantial benefits to all current and retired players, increase jobs, ensure continued progress on player safety, and give our fans more and better football.”

So what does this mean for the NFL and you, the fan?

Well, fans of the Dallas Cowboys and Tennessee Titans look away now as it also means that there is no longer the facility to use both a franchise tag AND a transition tag meaning things could get quite interesting for Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Byron Jones, Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry. Rumour has it that the league is considering delaying the start of the new league year in order to allow these teams to usher along negotiations with their respective parties.

It has been announced the salary cap for the upcoming season is $198.2m, a rise of just $10m. This is expected to shoot up over the next couple of years once the extra revenue streams and TV deals start leaking their money into the bloodstream of the NFL.

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Looking a bit further into the future and the 2020 season, you will likely see a new playoff format come in to effect, with 7 teams now advancing to the playoffs from each conference and consequently, only the #1 seed from both the AFC and NFC will get a first round bye. Whilst unlikely, if all the dominoes fell the right way, this could actually see 1 division provide 4 playoff teams.

Fast forward to 2021, this is where the league could exercise it’s right to move to 17 regular season games (with the last pre-season game making way) , and thus trigger the upper echelon of player revenues to 48.5%, a 0.5% increase from season where 16 games are played.

Some other bits of cornerstones surrounding the new CBA which will take effect in 2020:

  • Changes to the league’s drugs testing and disciplinary process has tweaks including the allowance of Marijuana for the players for usage under self medicating. However, where no suspensions will come in to effect, there is a possibility that the fines replacing the suspension could essentially mean that a player misses a game cheque but still being allowed to play in a game. This is important for player bonuses on contracts and qualifiers on thresholds on extra contract bonuses for players.
  • Minimum salaries are now increased which filters through to practice squads, meaning those players at the bottom end of rosters have more money in their pockets sooner.
  • Expanded game day rosters moves from 46 to 48 (one of which must be an offensive lineman).

Players at the higher end of the play scale have publicily voiced their disapproval at the deal and you have to wonder whether or not there may be some repercussions from the big names of the NFL (I’m not suggesting a holdout, but you have to wonder if there are any loopholes that will allow the Russell Wilsons or JJ Watts to miss time without punishment.

The crux of the matter is though, that the NFL and it’s players have an agreement in place which will run through to 2030, which means good news for the majority including the millions of fans across the globe.

The fallout however, is only just beginning.

Who will Dallas and Tennessee franchise tag? How will Free Agency and the players entering it be affected? And will the leagues stars have a trick up their sleeve to show their dissatisfaction? How will the coronavirus affect the next few weeks and months and possibly the season? Make sure you keep those eyes peeled to find out and keep it here at Full10Yards.

CBA: If this is real life? What’s it for Fantasy?

By James Fotheringham (@NFLHypeTrain)

The NFL players may feel caught in a landslide with no escape from reality, but if the current proposals in the CBA come to pass it has an effect on more than just those in the NFL. The players aren’t exactly in step with the NFL or the owners, however the prospect of a 17 game regular season with 2 bye week leaves a lot of questions for Fantasy Football.

If you’ve not been following the CBA talks then you’re probably best taking a listen to the podcast or looking it up on Twitter. However, the main talking point has been the prospect of a 17th game and an extra bye week to accommodate it. There’s a lot of water to flow under the bridge yet and I can see this one running and running, but if the NFL and the owners get their way, the fantasy world may be scrambling to figure out how to best use the extra time given to them.

Current Setup

For those who haven’t yet dipped into fantasy or who play in customised leagues, it’s probably worth me breaking down how the season runs under the current NFL system. (Note: All games mentioned are regular season NFL games).

Of course, many leagues will customise this depending on how many teams there are in the league. Some just do the Semi-Finals and add a week onto the regular season while others go for a full 8 team playoff schedule. There’s even an option (which I’ll explain more later) where you can have a 2 week playoff game (usually makes SF in weeks 13+14 and Final in weeks 15+16).

The Proposed Setup for the NFL

So, if the CBA in its current draft were to stand then we would have 19 regular season weeks (+1 game week + 1 bye week). Immediately discount week 19 as it’s the same scenario as the current week 17 (qualified teams will rest starters and eliminated teams will experiment or tank). It leaves 18 usable weeks.

Some may argue that teams may qualify earlier, and this rest their starters earlier, but the new play-off setup with only the #1 seed guaranteed a bye week means there should be more games with something on the line.

So how best to use these 18 weeks?

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A Few Ideas

Based on 8/10/12/14 team leagues (which are the most common) there are some options you can think about. Some of these are more complex than others. My advice would be unless you’ve got your thinking head on, I’d stop after #3.

  1. Status Quo – The setup that has been rocking all over the world for some time now could stay put. Just extend the regular season by those 2 weeks and have a Week 18 final, 17 for the semis, 16 for the wildcard round and 1-15 for the regular season.
  2. Fortnight Fight – In the final 4 each matchup can be over 2 weeks (15-16 and the final in 17-18). It’s a system I like as it needs you to think over a longer period and gives you a chance at redemption if one of your studs has a dud week. Could also do this with the wildcard round but that makes a week 13 playoff start and with bye weeks still likely to be happening it’s a risky option.
  3. Bring it all forwards – Pick the 3 weeks after the last bye week (predicting 14, 15, 16) and have the title decided while every team has something to play for. As I mentioned earlier, I actually don’t think it should be a worry if the playoffs also change but this would keep the timeframe exactly in step with the previous version.
  4. Two Seasons – A bit more radical this. Have a Week 1-9 Season and then restart with a 10-18 season. The first 7 weeks as the regular season and then a SF in the 8th week and a final in the 9th. Mid-season draft so you can reset with what you know, and you get to do the fun bit twice. You’ll have to have some strong tie breakers as with 7 games it could be tough to get only a final 4 but something like Points difference would work. In an 8 team league this could really work. Any more and you hit schedule issues and not every team plays every team. Of course, bye weeks may this potentially chaotic but with only 8 teams, if you make the roster size large enough it shouldn’t be too bad.
  5. League average (Nominated bye week) – Takes a bit of thinking to get your head around this one. Rather than playing head to head against one team, all the teams combine to make an average score. If you beat the average you get a win, otherwise it’s a loss. It means if you were in one of these matchups where you are the 2nd top scorer and play the top scorer you don’t get stung by it. With so many bye weeks to consider but no matchups you can choose a week (probably when your top pick is on bye) to nominate as a bye week where your score does not contribute to the average and you get neither a win or a loss. You could make 1 or 2 of these compulsory and they must be declared either pre-season or before the MNF game of the week before (depending on if you want it all setup in the pre-season or you want to manage things as they go on. Might be useful for injuries too…).

Mind Blown – Image Credit: Vincent Le Moign

There are a few possible formats but there’s one major question with will need answering before formats can be sorted. When will the latest bye week be? If there’s going to be teams on bye in week 14 it really limits the number of options as the fantasy playoffs cannot coincide with a bye week.

An interesting sub-plot may also be how the bye week gaps are determined. With 2 bye weeks per team are they all going to be equally split (so week 4+9, 5+10, 6+11, 7+12 and 8+13) or will it be a random split. Assuming they won’t be daft and give a team two bye weeks within a 3 week span this should lead to mayhem on the waiver wire but nothing fantasy owners haven’t seen before.

I’ll be watching on with interest as talks progress. If this does go ahead then the platform owners are then commissioners are going to be scrambling to setup leagues and setting with the new formats. It shouldn’t affect draft strategy too much unless they make a mess of the bye weeks, but it could bring fatigue and injuries even further to the front of peoples minds. Best ball won’t be affected, nor will Rotisserie leagues but those aren’t as common.

Whatever it ends up being, I can’t wait for free agency and the chance to talk about fantasy relevance again. It’s been too long since December!