INDIANAPOLIS -- NFL owners and player representatives met for nearly four hours Tuesday night in an effort to reach an accord on a new collective bargaining agreement.
They ended the meeting for the night with a league spokesman telling waiting media that "out of respect for the process" neither the owners nor players would be commenting. The meeting took place at a downtown hotel, a few blocks from the site of the annual scouting combine taking place this week.
On Thursday, owners approved a proposal for a 10-year collective bargaining agreement that includes a 17-game regular season, expanded playoffs, fewer exhibition games, a more player-friendly marijuana policy and a bigger slice of the revenue pie for players.
Players on minimum salaries would get an immediate bump under the proposed deal, with the minimum salary increasing by at least $90,000. Vision coverage would be added to the health care plan, somewhat remarkable that players don't have such a plan now.
The proposal also features increased benefits for retired players.
The NFL Players Association plans to put that proposal to a vote of the 32 player representatives, one per team. The union sent an email Monday to the league's 1,800-plus players in an effort to clarify the situation.
If a majority of the player reps vote in favor of the offer, the proposed deal will be sent to all players for a ratification vote.
If at least two-thirds of the player reps vote to approve the offer, the deal will be sent to the players with a recommendation that they vote in favor of it.
To be accepted, the CBA would require a simple majority from all current players who cast a vote.
The bargaining committee of owners is composed of New England's Robert Kraft, Dallas' Jerry Jones, Pittsburgh's Art Rooney II, Kansas City's Clark Hunt, the Los Angeles Chargers' Dean Spanos, Cincinnati's Mike Brown and the New York Giants' John Mara.
The current CBA expires after this season, so the clock is ticking to avoid a work stoppage. But already players have indicated there are significant concerns with the proposal, most centered on the wear and tear of an additional regular-season game. Some players believe owners should give up more ground, and money, if they want an extra game.
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