When trying to cajole the NFL Players Association into accepting the latest labor deal in 2011, the NFL’s owners happily surrendered practice time and intensity, in large part because it didn’t cost them anything. This time around, the league may be trying to claw back some of those losses.
As one league source recently explained it to PFT, the next CBA could include increased practice time (offseason, preseason, and/or in-season) for younger players, with veterans being exempt.
This approach would address the complaints of people like Patriots coach Bill Belichick , who want to teach young players. It also would be easier to sell to union leadership, since union leadership skews toward veteran players.
Of course, some veteran players may not want that. As younger players get more opportunities to show that they are learning the game and can be trusted in an actual game setting, coaches may decide to go with younger and cheaper players when it’s time to trim the roster from 90 to 53.
Regardless of whether increased practice time applies to younger players or to all of them, the NFL seems to be intent to try to get back some of what was given up in order to get the last deal done. The question then becomes what will the NFL give up to make it happen?