The NFL is expected to have its first public meeting of its new free agency policy on Thursday and the meetings could provide the first glimpse into how the league plans to address a number of key issues including the league’s salary cap, the state of the franchise tag and the status of player health.
The meetings, which take place in the offices of NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and general counsel Brian McCarthy, are expected to be held in the coming days and will include a meeting with the owners of each team to discuss salary cap issues, the status and future of the quarterback position, the franchise-tag situation and the state and status of players.
The owners have until March 9 to respond to the owners proposal to address the cap and whether the league can move forward with a new collective bargaining agreement.
Smith said in a statement that the meetings are expected “to be productive.”
The owners’ collective bargaining proposal, which includes salary cap proposals and free agency issues, is expected on March 15, and Smith said the owners will make their final offer on that day.
In addition to the meeting on the salary cap and franchise tag, the owners are expected also to discuss whether players should be paid the same as their team’s draft pick.
In a statement, the NFLPA said it will be working with its members to draft the best players and teams to protect players in the league, and it also hopes the owners meeting will help inform future discussions on player safety, the league and the labor agreement.
The NFLPA is seeking to have the owners meet with Smith and McCarthy on Thursday in the owners’ offices in Canton, Ohio.
The meeting will be conducted by union members and the union has indicated it would be open to players participating if there was a willingness to do so.
In the days leading up to the meetings, the union and the players have indicated that players will be invited to the conference calls and that the owners have asked for permission to hold such meetings.
The teams are expected in Cantons presence Thursday to discuss how to handle the salary-cap situation.
While the cap has been set at $133 million for 2017, that number has increased each year, to $172 million by the end of this season.
Players are not scheduled to be paid anything less than the cap until 2021, and that’s the current number.
The union has asked for a cap of $200 million for next season, which is a much lower cap number than the current cap.
However, the players’ bargaining agreement includes $50 million in new revenue to the league each year until 2021.
The current $167 million cap is set to increase to $167.5 million by 2020.
The current salary cap for the 2017 season is $168 million.
In February, the teams and players agreed to pay each player a $15 million signing bonus in exchange for the franchise tags, but that deal did not include an extension.
The players also agreed to hold a public vote on whether to extend the franchise and the franchise tax credit by two years, and the owners agreed to a cap increase for the 2019 season, a cap-saving increase for next year and a new player amnesty provision for 2018.