The NFL and NFL Players Association met Monday in Chicago for a preliminary bargaining session, Pro Football Talk reported, citing multiple unidentified sources, marking the first full-blown meeting about a new collective bargaining agreement since three days of planned talks in mid-July ended on the first day.
The sides were scheduled to resume their early negotiations last week, but that session was postponed.
Monday’s meeting was eight years to the day after the signing of the current CBA that ended a 132-day lockout and runs through the 2020 season. It also was exactly one month from the kickoff of the NFL’s 100th season.
The early meetings between league representatives and the players union have been characterized as positive and amicable, but, PFT noted, “(e)ventually, they’ll begin grappling over the key issues” such as how to carve a multibillion-dollar pie (the current CBA gives players 47% to 48.5% of revenue, down from 50% in the previous CBA), the salary cap and spending floor, league revenue spent on stadium construction/renovation and the number preseason and regular-season games among other topics.
The two sides thus far are intent on keeping their actual negotiations out of the public spotlight, despite some saber-rattling on both sides. The goal: to prevent a work stoppage ahead of the 2021 season in the most popular and lucrative league in North America.