We are not even one full month removed from Super Bowl LIV, but the National Football League is a machine that never sleeps which means that changes can happen at any moment.
NFL owners are reportedly headed to New York later this week (it’s already past Hump Day so that would theoretically be soon) to discuss labor negotiations with the NFLPA. There are a lot of issues, ones we can’t even think of, that have to be squared away, but one potentially big thing is going to be happening soon according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Looks like the NFL is going to add a seventh playoff team to each conference
The worldwide leader reported on Wednesday evening that the league is likely going to add a seventh playoff team to each conference. As of now there are six playoff teams in both the NFC and AFC, the four division champions and two wildcards. A seventh overall team in each conference would make it 14 in total (almost half of the league’s 32 teams) and make for a third wildcard squad in each conference. If you’re wondering how the games would shake out, the league is likely going to limit a first-round bye to only each conference’s number one seed.
Under the current CBA proposal that NFL owners are pushing for, the playoff field would be expanded to seven teams from each conference, while the regular season would be increased to 17 games per team and the preseason shortened to three games per team, sources said.
As part of the proposed playoff format, only one team from each conference would receive a first-round bye as opposed to the two that currently do, league sources said. That would mean a revised postseason schedule that includes six games on wild-card weekend, with three on Saturday and three on Sunday.
The Los Angeles Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers would have been the benefactors of this change being in place during the 2019 season. The Rams were defending NFC Champions, and while the Steelers battled through a lot of adversity they weren’t exactly a great team. It does raise the question as to what the caliber of these added teams could very well be. Historically they are not great.
Two extra games on wildcard weekend would mean that both Saturday and Sunday would be triple-headers. That would be a lot of football to watch during the first weekend of January, hardly the greatest punishment in the world.
Keep in mind that a new CBA could impact the Cowboys this offseason
It is understood that this playoff change could only come if the league and its players agree to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement soon. While that once felt impossible, there is legitimate life to that idea and if that happens, the current Cowboys could feel the effects of it in a way that is more than just an extra wildcard spot in their conference.
We talked about this recently here at BTB. NFL teams can use both the franchise and transition tags this offseason because it is regarded as the “Final League Year” under the current CBA. ESPN’s Dan Graziano noted that this could have an impact on the Cowboys as well as other teams.
Something else to watch in CBA talks. If a new deal is agreed to by March 18, it would start with the 2020 league year and run through 2029. Teams would lose the ability to use both franchise and transition tags in 2020. Affects Cowboys, Titans, Bucs, among others.— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) February 20, 2020
It would be very costly, no pun intended, for the Cowboys to lose their ability to utilize both tags as they have three players that are set to be highly-coveted free agents. This is a bit of a bummer.