The NFL is expected to add two playoff teams and reduce the number of teams getting a playoff bye in the next collective bargaining agreement, and that agreement could be completed within a week, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Wednesday night.
According to the report, league sources indicated to ESPN the proposal would have seven teams from each conference qualify for the playoffs, up from six. Only one team from each conference would receive a bye in the wild-card round, down from two teams.
Had that format been in place for the 2019 season, the Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8) and Los Angeles Rams (9-7) would have made the playoffs. The addition of a proposed 17th regular-season game could have furthered altered that scenario.
“That’s been agreed to for a long time,” a source familiar with the CBA talks told Schefter about the popularity of the proposed playoff changes. “There wasn’t a lot of disagreement to that issue.”
According to Schefter, the teams that get the first-round bye would get postseason pay for that weekend of rest, something that does not happen under the current CBA.
The biggest sticking point in recent weeks when it came to hammering out a new CBA was reportedly over whether the league would add the 17th game to the regular season. Schefter reported that is still one of the “final issues” to be worked out, and that a 17th regular-season game would not be added to the schedule until 2021 at the earliest.
The current CBA was ratified in 2011 and is set to expire following the 2020 season.
“I’d be very surprised if there’s not a new CBA for the new league year,” a source told Schefter.
—Field Level Media