How NFL CBA vote impacts future seasons, players


The NFL’s collective bargaining agreement was approved by 60 votes. Of the approximately 2,500 players eligible to vote (if you were on a practice squad for one week in 2019, you counted the same as Aaron Rodgers), 1,978 men voted . . . a 79.1 percent voter turnout. Or 18 percent more than voted in the 2016 presidential election. The big issue to me isn’t that one of five NFL players sat this crucial election out; it’s that 48.5 percent of the voters said no to the deal. The naysayers hate the fact that there will be a 17th regular-season game, likely beginning in 2021, and think union boss De Smith caved too easily to the 17th-game demand.

“I can respect guys voting no because of that,” said Saints punter Thomas Morstead, a member of the league’s 10-man Executive Committee, which helped negotiate the deal with NFL owners. “The owners felt the current model was broken and they had to have 17 games. The Executive Committee’s job is to negotiate the best deal they can, and put that in front of the players. I think that’s what we did.”

Now that’s it official, here are the rules the NFL will be playing under for the longest CBA in league history, the next 11 seasons:

• Playoffs. The new 14-team playoffs, with the top seed in each conference getting the only byes, will very likely begin this season. The league will most likely play three first-round games on Saturday and three on Sunday of wild-card weekend, though the league might decide to go 2-3-1: two Saturday, three Sunday and one on Monday night.

• The 17th game. I won’t be surprised if a smart coach says to his five or six most senior every-down players, I’ll try to find 50 to 60 snaps to pull you during the season, so you’re not playing 17 full games—you’d be playing the equivalent of 16. For now, the league is operating on the belief that all NFC teams one season will play nine home games and eight on the road one year, and the next year, all AFC teams will be home nine times and away eight. And no, there won’t be neutral-site games, or a huge increase in games outside the United States. The 16 additional games could be used, all or in part, to create a lucrative new package of games to be streamed by an Amazon or Facebook, a deep-pocketed new media company.

• New minimums. Rookie minimum salaries, scheduled to be $510,000 in 2020 under the last year of the old CBA, now go up to $610,000. By the last year of the deal, the minimum rises to $1.065 million for a first-year player.

• More jobs. Practice squads will increase from 10 to 12 players in 2020, and to 14 in 2021. Starting this year, 48 players can be active on gameday; teams will be able to borrow from the practice squad weekly to be part of the 53-man active roster.

• Meh on the cap. Though the salary cap rises from $188.2 million in 2019 to $198.2 million this year, that $198.2m figure is misleading. Most teams have about 25 minimum salary guys on the team. So with the increase of $100,000 per minimum guy, and the addition of two more $100,000-per-year practice-squadders, that’s about $2.7 million less to spend—or maybe $195.5 million per team. For cap-strapped teams like New Orleans and Pittsburgh and Atlanta, those relative pennies count.

• Softer discipline. Players no longer will get suspended for positive pot tests—they’ll be tested only in the first two weeks of training camp. The league doesn’t want to catch players anymore. (But a DUI gets an automatic three-game ban.) And commissioner Roger Goodell will be replaced in most disciplinary cases by a neutral arbitrator.

• TV help. It’s expected the players’ piece of the revenue pie will rise from 47 percent to at least 48.5 percent in 2021 upon completion of the new TV deals. Dissatisfied players want a 50-50 split with owners, which may come one day, but could well depend on the more militant players being willing to withhold services. That’s exceedingly rare in NFL annals. By the end of this CBA, it will have been 43 years since NFL struck or were locked out in a contract hassle. That’s because the vast majority haven’t had the stomachs to strike.

• Old-timer aid. About 11,000 former players from bygone eras will have their pensions increased by about 53 percent (from $30,000 annually to $46,000), while 700 or so players who played just three seasons will get pensions for the first time, and about 4,500 will get $50,000 health-savings-reimbursement accounts. One source told me this was worth $300 million in the first year of the deal.

We’ll never know if the perceived threats about players turning down this deal would have materialized. The threats went this way: Players won’t get as good a deal in 2021 if they turn down this one. Ownership sources swore that was true, and the deal the players took in July 2011 wasn’t quite as good as the one they turned down in 2010. We’ll also never know if late votes by players in the two or three days before the Saturday night deadline took into account the tanking economy right now.

The biggest takeaway, from me, will be how the 959 men who voted no—that’s a huge number—look at their union now. And how they look at their union boss, Smith. For a union that took a very deep breath Sunday night after passage of the CBA, there still could be storm clouds coming from unhappy players.

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America column here.

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft WR Rankings: Zay Flowers, Jaxon Smith-Njigba top list


The 2023 NFL Draft is just around the corner, and across all positions, fans are eagerly tracking the names to know to see what prospects can bolster their team in the upcoming season. A top-quality pass-catcher is on the wish list for more than a few franchises, and ahead of the draft on April 27th, Chris Simms broke down his picks for the top five wide receivers in this year’s draft class, starting with Boston College’s Zay Flowers, who’s been rumored to be of interest for both the Saints and the Patriots. Stay tuned to the Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast for the next month as Simms breaks down his rankings for every position group, and read on for the rest of his wide receiver rankings.

RELATED: Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft QB Rankings: C.J. Stroud leads the way, and a tie at No. 5

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft Wide Receiver Rankings

Tier One

1. Zay Flowers, Boston College

2. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State

Tier Two

3. Quentin Johnston, TCU

4. Michael Wilson, Stanford

Tier Three

5. Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee

Chris Simms Top 5 2023 NFL Draft Wide Receivers

RELATED: When is the 2023 NFL Draft? Date, start time, location, Round 1 order

Simms Breaks Down 2023 Draft WR Rankings

The following are highlights from Simms’ WR draft rankings. For Simms’ in-depth analysis, read below for a breakdown on each prospect and be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for an unfiltered look at the NFL, featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown, and stories from a life in and around football.

No. 1 Zay Flowers (Boston College)

What Simms Said: “The position versatility – he can play inside or outside. Some of the best releases in the draft are from Zay Flowers. He is pedal to the metal every play, every cut, everything he does. The build, the style of running…I think he looks like Antonio Brown. He is an unbelievable route runner, along with the explosive athlete. You’re really getting a three-in-one here with speed burner on the outside, speed burner on the inside, and slot receiver inside. I wrote Jaylen Waddle, that’s a guy he reminds me of…(He) plays bigger than his measurables say. To me, he’s a top-20 pick.”

No. 2 Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State

What Simms Said: “The speed is not blazing…but what’s off the charts good is the guy’s quickness and route running. His ability to come off the ball and be going 70% and almost jump in the air at the six-yard mark…it’s like Allen Iverson with an unbelievable crossover dribble. He’s got this unbelievable ability to change direction and then accelerate in a hurry. His ability after the catch…the first guy never tackles him…He reminds me of Jarvis Landry, to a greater version. This guy is about as high level of a route runner as you’re going to see in college.”

No. 3 Quentin Johnson, TCU

What Simms Said: “Tee Higgins-ish with more explosive ability than Higgins had coming out. He can catch the six-yard shallow cross and run 80 yards for a touchdown. His ability to jump – it’s a 40.5 inch vertical – plus he’s 6’3” and his arms look like they’re ridiculously long. He’s Drake London-ish from last year, except he doesn’t have the route running but has more of the straight speed…He’s one of the most physically impressive wide receivers in recent memory. You don’t see a lot of the route variety…but he shows the ability to change direction with the ball in his hands. He has better feet, quickness, and suddenness than most people with his size.”

No. 4 Michael Wilson, Stanford

What Simms Said: “This is where we’re going to go a little unconventional…But if you watch the film, you go, ‘There’s no doubt this is one of the best three or four receivers in this draft.’ There’s nothing he doesn’t do that’s top-notch…He ran a 4.58 at the Combine in the 40, (but) he plays way faster than that…The physical specimen is real, let alone the refined things you like to see in a receiver are real too. He can be another guy who could be inside or outside because he’s got the pure size and strength and speed to beat you outside but has the route running and it looks like the smarts to be that slot guy that catches your eye as well.”

No. 5 Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee 

What Simms Said: “If you like speed, then you like Jaylin Hyatt…This is a track start, straight-liner, DeSean Jackson-, Will Fuller-ish type of receiver. So, there’s going to be things about him that you love, there’s going to be some things about him that I’m not crazy about. He’s not a great route runner…I truly question whether he can do it, unlike the other guys where I try to piece things together. You can watch a bunch of catches and he never makes anybody miss, that’s not his game…If there’s a seam straight away, watch out…If he gets a free release or gets off the line of scrimmage the right way and you have a safety that doesn’t get back instantly, see ya. It’s going to be a 60-yard post for a touchdown. That’s where he’s special.”

For more preview content of the 2023 NFL Draft, stay tuned to Chris Simms UnbuttonedProFootballTalk and NBC Sports EDGE for all the latest updates, player analysis and mock drafts.

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft Position Rankings: The top QBs, WRs, RBs, and more ahead of draft weekend


The 2023 NFL Draft takes place on Thursday, April 27 through Saturday, April 29 in Kansas City, Missouri. Click here for the full first-round draft order to find out when your team is picking.

Ahead of this year’s draft, Chris Simms has already started analyzing the top prospects by position on the Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast. So far, Simms has revealed his highly anticipated list of the top 5 quarterback prospects and wide receivers. See below to find out who made the top 5 names for each position and be sure to check back for updates!

Be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for more on the 2023 NFL Draft as well as an unfiltered look at the NFL, featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown, and stories from a life in and around football.

RELATED: When is the 2023 NFL Draft? Date, start time, location, Round 1 order

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft Position Rankings:

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft QB Rankings:

  1. C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
  2. Bryce Young, Alabama
  3. Hendon Hooker, Tennessee
  4. Anthony Richardson, Florida
  5. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA and Will Levis, Kentucky

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft WR Rankings:

  1. Zay Flowers, Boston College
  2. Jaxon Smith-Njibga, Ohio State
  3. Quentin Jonston, TCU
  4. Michael Wilson, Stanford
  5. Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee

How can I watch the 2023 NFL Draft live?

ESPN, ABC, and NFL Network will air all seven rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft.

What time does the NFL Draft start?

The first round of the 2023 NFL Draft will get underway on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET. Rounds two and three will commence Friday at 7 p.m. ET, with Saturday’s final rounds at 12 p.m.

Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2023 NFL Season and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!