NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement

The NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is a labor agreement which reflects the results of collective bargaining negotiations between the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) and National Football League (NFL) team owners. The labor agreement classifies distribution of league revenues, sets health and safety standards and establishes benefits, including pensions and medical benefits, for all players in the NFL. The first collective bargaining agreement was reached in 1968 after player members of the NFLPA voted to go on strike to increase salaries, pensions and benefits for all players in the league. Later negotiations of the collective bargaining agreement called for injury grievances, a guaranteed percentage of revenues for players, an expansion of free agency and other issues impacting the business of the NFL. The NFLPA and team owners have negotiated seven different agreements since 1968.

Most recently, in 2011, players and team owners reached a collective bargaining agreement after a player lockout and court-ordered mediation. The currently active agreement was ratified in 2011 and extends through the 2020 season, and includes changes to league revenue distribution, increases in player benefits and health and safety improvements including major limits on offseason, preseason and regular season practice activities.

1968 agreement

In 1968 the National Football League Players Association was first recognized in writing by National Football League team owners. This occurred after the player members of the NFLPA voted to go on strike, intending to pressure owners to increase minimum salaries, pensions and other benefits for all players.[1] In response, NFL team owners locked out the players who were on strike.[1] After eleven days of work stoppage, the first collective bargaining agreement (CBA) was reached between the NFL and the NFLPA.[2][3] The agreement set a minimum salary of $9,000 per year for rookie players and $10,000 per year for veteran players. It also set aside $1.5 million of league revenue to be contributed to player pensions.[4]

1970 agreement

A new agreement was negotiated in 1970 after the NFLPA merged with the American Football League Players Association.[4] During negotiations over the new CBA, players went on strike in July 1970.[4] The new agreement was reached after four days.[3] The agreement increased minimum player salaries and altered the league's medical and pension programs.[4] It also provided for impartial arbitration of injury grievances, which had previously been decided by the NFL Commissioner.[5] John Mackey was elected as president of the NFLPA during this negotiation,[1] and the new agreement was projected to cover the 1970 through 1973 seasons.[4]

1974 strike

In 1974, the veteran NFL players went on strike for five weeks, declaring "No Freedom, No Football," but they received no concessions before reporting to training camp after a two-week "cooling off" period.[2][6] The strike never resumed, and the NFLPA player representatives voted instead to pursue a previously filed lawsuit, Mackey v. NFL, which challenged the Rozelle Rule restrictions on free agency as a violation of the federal antitrust laws. The Rozelle Rule was a compensation clause which outlined that a team losing a free agent would get equal value in return.[1] Player confidence in the NFLPA was weakened by the strike's ineffectiveness. By 1975, fewer than half of players in the NFL were paying their union dues.[4]

1977 agreement

After players won the Mackey case in court, the NFLPA and the owners settled on a new CBA which implemented a new first refusal and compensation system to replace the Rozelle Rule.[1] The new system still placed restrictions on players' free agency.[4] The court decision outlined that compensation for draft picks was to be awarded on the basis of the salaries received by departing free agents.[1] The agreement reached in 1977 significantly improved some medical and pension benefits for players and gained neutral arbitration of all player/club disputes.[4]

1982 agreement

In 1982, after playing the first two games of the season, NFL players went on strike again, seeking to attain a guaranteed percentage of club and league revenues.[2] This strike lasted 57 days, making it the longest work stoppage in NFL history until that date.[1] The strike ended with a tentative agreement on November 16 which included funds to cover players' lost wages during the work stoppage.[1] Negotiators signed a new collective bargaining agreement on December 5. The agreement improved players' benefits by implementing a new severance pay benefit, increasing minimum salaries for players in all years of service, and adding new medical rights for players. The agreement also included a revamped season schedule for 1982, which had a nine-game regular season and a new playoff format which allowed 16 of the league's 28 teams to qualify for the playoffs.[1] Additionally, the agreement included a guarantee from the owners that players would collectively receive at least $1.6 billion in salaries and benefits over the five-year term of the new agreement.[7]

1987 strike

After playing the first two games of the season in 1987, players went on strike for free agency.[2] In response to the strike, team owners brought in replacement players and continued the regular season after one week. Several well-known players, including Joe Montana, Lawrence Taylor and Tony Dorsett crossed the picket lines to rejoin their teams alongside these new replacements.[1][2] On October 15, players voted to end the strike, to instead pursue a legal challenge to the free agency restrictions in court.[1] In January 1988 Judge David Doty sided with the players in ruling that the clubs' continuance of the first refusal and compensation restrictions on free agents was not protected by the labor exemption to the antitrust laws.[5] But in July 1988 Doty refused to grant an injunction which would have freed the players from the restrictions, ruling that the federal Norris-LaGuardia Act prevented courts from issuing injunctions in labor disputes.[8] He urged both sides of the conflict to return to the bargaining table while in preparation for an anti-trust trial.[1]

In 1989, team owners unilaterally implemented a limited free agency system called "Plan B".[2] This allowed teams to continue to impose first refusal and compensation restrictions on their top 37 players. The new system also allowed players at the bottom of the roster to sign with other teams without restriction.[2] The average salary of the players signed under Plan B increased by 40.3 percent.[9]

In November 1989 the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that team owners were exempt from the federal antitrust laws so long as players were adequately represented by a union.[10] That same year, the NFLPA decertified as a union, stating its union status provided more protection for the owners than for the players.[1] The NFL continued to operate without a collective bargaining agreement until 1993.[1]

1993 agreement

The NFL and its players began negotiations after players won the Freeman McNeil legal case brought against Plan B. The jury decided on September 10, 1992 that Plan B was too restrictive under federal antitrust laws. Subsequently, team owners agreed to discuss free agency for all players.[1] The NFLPA filed a class action suit in the name of Reggie White, claiming that all players in the NFL should receive money damages as a result of the illegality of Plan B. The settlement provided for payment of almost $200 million in damages, and was contingent upon the NFLPA re-forming as a union and signing a new CBA which would incorporate the terms of the litigation settlement.[11][12] A seven-year CBA was signed in the spring of 1993, making it the first agreement of its kind since 1987.[1][2][4] The new CBA provided players with unlimited free agency after playing four years in the league, subject to an exception for one franchise player per club after first year of the new CBA. In return, the NFLPA agreed to a salary cap based upon an agreed percentage of revenues.[4] The agreement had an immediate impact on player salaries, increasing wages for the 1993 season by 38 percent.[4]

The CBA agreed to in 1993 was extended by the agreement of players and owners in 1998. This lasted until the 2002 season, when the CBA was extended through the 2006 season.[4]

2006 agreement

The CBA agreed upon in 1993 was extended again in 2006 after the team owners agreed to include more revenues in the salary cap and to increase benefits, including the first ever plan to provide funds to players for medical expenses after their post-career medical insurance ran out.[2] This extension of the CBA included an option for either party to opt out before November 8, 2008, which would have resulted in a termination of the CBA on March 1, 2011 if either side chose to exercise it.[4] The team owners voted unanimously to opt out in May 2008.[4]

2011 agreement

Negotiations for a new CBA began in early 2010. Team owners and new NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell demanded a cutback in salaries and benefits under the cap system, promising to lockout the players if no new agreement was reached by March 1, 2011.[13] The NFLPA rejected Goodell’s proposal, requesting to see all league and club financial records to determine what need, if any, the clubs had for a decrease in player costs. The players voted during their 2010 team meetings to end the NFLPA’s status as a labor union as of March 1, 2011, unless a new CBA was reached by that time.[14] Although there was no salary cap in 2010, free agency activity and overall expenditures on players declined, leading the NFLPA to file a collusion case, claiming that the owners had unlawfully agreed to reduce competition for free agents.[1] After failing to make any progress in negotiations, both sides accepted mediation under the auspices of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) in February 2011. During mediation, players and owners agreed to extend the 2006 CBA by one week. The FMCS failed to mediate a settlement and the previous CBA expired on March 7, 2011. That same day, the NFLPA announced it was no longer a union. This allowed players to file individual antitrust cases, many of which challenged the legality of the impending lockout.[15] Tom Brady of the New England Patriots and Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts were two of the eight named plaintiffs in the action filed in Federal District Court in Minnesota.[16][17]

The Federal District Court initially ruled for the players, declaring the lockout illegal because the players were no longer members of a union.[4] The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the District Court's ruling, and the lockout continued pending a final determination in the appellate court.[4] In July 2011, as court-ordered mediation continued between players and owners in New York, at the offices of the NFL’s lawyers, the 8th Circuit court announced that the Norris–La Guardia Act prohibited it from enjoining the lockout. The court stated in its decision that the ruling only applied to veteran players under contract, and not to unsigned rookies or veteran free agents.[18]

After several months of negotiations, the longest lockout in league history ended on July 25, 2011 following a tentative litigation settlement which reclassified some league revenues for cap purposes. This settlement allowed team owners to keep a small percentage from being included in future salary caps.[19] The settlement was conditional upon the NFLPA re-constituting as a union and incorporating the settlement terms into a new CBA.[20][21] Players reported to training camps in July 2011, and voted to re-constitute the NFLPA as a union. After the vote tally was confirmed on July 31, 2011, the NFLPA began six days of bargaining that resulted in a new CBA being signed on August 5, 2011.[22]

The key features of the 2011 CBA included changes related to health and safety, including a reduction in the number of off-season practices, a prohibition against training camp “two-a days", and a limit on contact practices in both the preseason and regular season.[23][24] The new CBA also featured increases in player benefits, including retroactive pension increases for retired players and the creation of a neuro-cognitive benefit for players affected by concussions and other similar injuries. Also, the agreement promised an increase up to $1.5 million in salary guarantees for injured players[23] and a new revenue split, offering players between 47 percent and 48.5 percent of all revenue.[20][25] Changes were also made in contract-related benefits, with an increase in minimum player salaries[19] and salary cap minimums, including the guarantee of a 99% -95% league wide spend and a requirement that each club would have to spend an average of 89% of the salary cap over four-year periods.[26]

A new rookie salary system was implemented by the NFL to limit spending on first-round draft picks,[24] but the savings were reallocated to veteran players.[27] The 2011 CBA had no opt-out clause and a ten-year term set to expire after the 2020 season.[20][28]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Jarrett Bell (March 12, 2011). "Timeline of NFL labor disputes". USA Today. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "NFL labor history since 1968". ESPN. March 3, 2011. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  3. ^ a b Richard Rothschild (July 26, 2011). "Players vs. owners: Who came out on top in major labor disputes?". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Quinn, Kevin G. (2010). "Getting to the 2011-2020 National Football League Collective Bargaining Agreement". International Journal of Sport Finance. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  5. ^ a b "History". NFL. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  6. ^ Associated Press (August 25, 1974). "Bills, Bengals' vets won't leave". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  7. ^ "NFL Lockout". NFL Topics. NFL. December 5, 2012. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  8. ^ James P. Quirk (1992). Pay Dirt: The Business of Professional Team Sports. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. p. 201. ISBN 0-691-04255-1. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  9. ^ Curt Holbreich (January 28, 1990). "Improving Easy as A, Plan B, C : NFL: Talent scouts, Chargers' Bobby Beathard among them, look to upgrade teams in second year of free-agent program". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  10. ^ Don Pierson (May 29, 1991). "Nfl Players Gain in Push For Free Agency". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  11. ^ "White v. National Football League: The Myth of Free Agency in the National Football League". Loyola of Los Angeles Entertainment Law Review. Loyola Marymount University and Loyola Law School. 14: 390–393. January 1, 1994. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  12. ^ Dave Campbell (March 11, 2011). "Brady, Manning, Brees file antitrust suit against NFL to prevent lockout". Washington Post Sports. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  13. ^ "NFL locks out players, who file suit". March 12, 2011. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  14. ^ "NFL players ask judge for $707M". ESPN. May 13, 2011. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  15. ^ Sam Farmer (March 11, 2011). "NFL players decertify their union". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  16. ^ "Tom Brady, NFLPA sued by retired players". CBS News. September 14, 2011. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  17. ^ "Ten players named as plaintiffs in antitrust lawsuit vs. NFL". NFL Wire Reports. March 11, 2011. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  18. ^ Gary Mihoces (May 16, 2011). "Appeals court backs NFL as lockout remains in place". USA Today. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  19. ^ John Clayton (July 26, 2011). "Roger Goodell: 'Football is back'". ESPN. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  20. ^ a b c Howard Fendrich (July 25, 2011). "NFL Lockout Over: Owners, Players Agree To Deal". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  21. ^ "NFL players ratify new CBA". ESPN. August 5, 2011. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  22. ^ "NFLPA still discussing proposed deal". ESPN. July 23, 2011. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  23. ^ a b NFLPA (August 4, 2011). "Collective Bargaining Agreement" (PDF). Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  24. ^ a b Nate Davis (July 25, 2011). "NFL, players announce new 10-year labor agreement". USA Today. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  25. ^ Gary Myers (July 26, 2011). "NFL collective bargaining agreement includes no opt-out, new revenue split, salary cap, rookie deals". New York Daily News. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
  26. ^ "NFL clubs approve comprehensive agreement". NFL News. July 21, 2011. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  27. ^ David Lariviere (July 4, 2012). "NFL Rookie Contracts Show Owners Were The Winners in CBA". Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  28. ^ Gregg Rosenthall (July 25, 2011). "The CBA in a nutshell". ProFootballTalk. NBC Sports. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
2010 Cleveland Browns season

The 2010 Cleveland Browns season was the team's 62nd season as a professional sports franchise and its 58th season as a member of the National Football League (NFL). The team failed to break the longest playoff appearance drought in franchise history, a current streak of eight seasons without reaching the playoffs. The team finished 5–11, matching its win total from the 2009 season and placed third in the AFC North. This season marked the first season under the leadership of team president Mike Holmgren and general manager Tom Heckert. It also marked the second season under head coach Eric Mangini. The Browns played all of their home games at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio.

Armond Armstead

Armond Armstead (born August 3, 1990) is a former defensive tackle for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League and the New England Patriots of the National Football League. He played college football at USC. He was signed by the Argonauts as an undrafted free agent in 2012.

Collective agreement

A collective agreement, collective labour agreement (CLA) or collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is a written contract negotiated through collective bargaining for employees by one or more trade unions with the management of a company (or with an employers' association) that regulates the terms and conditions of employees at work. This includes regulating the wages, benefits, and duties of the employees and the duties and responsibilities of the employer or employers and often includes rules for a dispute resolution process.

David S. Doty

David Singleton Doty (born 1929) is a Senior United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota.

Homosexuality in American football

Few American football players have come out as gay. Six former National Football League (NFL) players have come out publicly after they retired. There has never been anyone who has been publicly out while playing in the NFL. Michael Sam was selected by the St. Louis Rams in 2014 NFL Draft, and became the first publicly gay player drafted in the league, but was released before the start of the regular season. He became the first publicly gay player to play in the Canadian Football League in August 2015. In college football, Division III player Conner Mertens came out as bisexual in January 2014, becoming the first active college football player at any level to publicly come out. In August 2014, Arizona State player Chip Sarafin became the first publicly out active Division I player. In 2017, Scott Frantz publicly came out as gay, joining My-King Johnson as two of the first openly gay players in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. Later that same year, Frantz became the first openly gay college football player to play in a game for a NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision school. In 2018, Bradley Kim of the Air Force Academy came out as gay, thus becoming the first openly gay football player to play for any military academy in the United States.

John Jones (American football executive)

John Jones was born on February 6, 1952 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He held the position of president and chief operating officer of the Green Bay Packers, an NFL franchise. He was to assume the titles of president and chief executive officer in May 2007, replacing a retiring Bob Harlan.

On May 26, 2007 the Packers announced that John Jones would be taking an indefinite "leave of absence" only days before Jones was scheduled to succeed Harlan as new CEO of the organization. Health concerns were the major reason sited for Jones' departure. In late July 2007, the Packers and Jones officially cut ties and on December 3, 2007, the Green Bay Packers announced Mark H. Murphy as its new president and CEO.

In January 2009, Jones openly discussed his medical situation. In June 2006, Jones underwent a heart surgery operation to correct a dissected aorta, a procedure he was told later that only 10 percent of patients survive. He suffered a stroke during the surgery that continues to affect his short-term memory and his physical stamina, which ultimately caused him to leave the team.Following his personal medical triumph, Jones' recent mission has been raising awareness about men's healthcare. His presentation "Bulletproof: The Men's Healthcare Myth" encourages men to see their physicians regularly. "Ladies get their checkups, but men are the exact opposite. They take better care of their car than their bodies."

Miles Austin

Miles Jonathon Austin III (born June 30, 1984) is a former American football wide receiver who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 10 seasons and spent the majority of his career with the Dallas Cowboys. He also was a member of the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles. Austin played college football at Monmouth.

Austin joined the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2006 and was a member of the team for eight seasons. During his tenure with the Cowboys, he was named to two Pro Bowls. He retired after playing for the Browns and Eagles for one season each.

National Football League Management Council

The National Football League Management Council is a non-profit association of clubs in the National Football League (NFL) that represents its members in negotiations related to the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL Players Association. It is based in New York City and its chairman is the NFL Executive Vice President of Labor Relations, Harold Henderson.

Odell Thurman

Odell Lamar Thurman (born July 9, 1983) is a former American football linebacker. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft. He played college football at Georgia.

Paul Posluszny

Paul Michael Posluszny (born October 10, 1984) is a former American football linebacker who played 11 seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Penn State University, earned consensus All-American honors twice, and was chosen by the Buffalo Bills in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft. He was also a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars for seven seasons, with whom he made a Pro Bowl.

Practice squad

In sports, the practice squad, also called the taxi squad or practice roster, is a group of players signed by a team but not part of their main roster. Frequently used in American and Canadian football, they serve as extra players during the team's practices, often as part of the scout team by emulating an upcoming opponent's play style. Because the players on the practice squad are familiar with the team's plays and formations, the practice squad serves as a way to develop inexperienced players for promotion to the main roster. In addition, it provides replacement players for the main roster when players are needed as the result of injuries or other roster moves, such as bereavement leave.

Restricted free agent

A restricted free agent is a type of free agent in the National Football League (NFL), National Hockey League (NHL), or National Basketball Association (NBA). Such players have special restrictions on the terms under which they can retain or change employment status with their athletic club teams.

Right-to-work law

In the context of U.S. labor politics, "right-to-work laws" refers to state laws that prohibit union security agreements between companies and labor unions. Under these laws, employees in unionized workplaces are banned from negotiating contracts which require all members who benefit from the union contract to contribute to the costs of union representation.According to the Legal Defense Foundation, right-to-work laws prohibit union security agreements, or agreements between employers and labor unions, that govern the extent to which an established union can require employees' membership, payment of union dues, or fees as a condition of employment, either before or after hiring. Right-to-work laws do not aim to provide general guarantee of employment to people seeking work, but rather are a government ban on contractual agreements between employers and union employees requiring workers to pay for the costs of union representation.Right-to-work laws (either by statutes or by constitutional provision) exist in 26 U.S. states, mostly in the Southern, Western, and Midwestern states. Business interests represented by the United States Chamber of Commerce have lobbied extensively to pass right-to-work legislation. Such laws are allowed under the 1947 federal Taft–Hartley Act. A further distinction is often made within the law between people employed by state and municipal governments and those employed by the private sector, with states that are otherwise union shop (i.e., workers must pay for union representation in order to obtain or retain a job) having right to work laws in effect for government employees; provided, however, that the law also permits an "agency shop" where employees pay their share for representation (less than union dues), while not joining the union as members.


A rookie is a person in the first year of activity in a sport, or someone new to a profession, training, or activity such as a rookie police officer, rookie pilot, or a recruit.


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