CBA language finalized, sent to NFL players for vote

The NFL Players Association sent out official ballots to players Thursday morning on the league's proposed collective bargaining agreement.

The NFLPA said in a statement Thursday that the voting will remain open until next Thursday, March 12, at 11:59 p.m. ET.

The language of the proposed CBA was finalized late Wednesday night, a league source told ESPN's Jeff Darlington.

While players will be able to cast a vote throughout the seven-day window, they currently plan to use the full allotted time before formalizing the results, meaning ratification is unlikely until later next week, an NFLPA source told Darlington.

If a majority of the voting players approve, the deal will go into effect immediately, as the owners already have approved it. NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith expressed confidence last week that the players would vote it through.

The new CBA will expand the NFL's playoff field by two teams starting with the 2020 season and give the owners the option to expand the regular season from 16 games to 17 games as early as 2021.

But those are only the big-headline items. More than just a deal to increase the number of games played each season, this is a document that will establish and govern the rules under which the game is played, contracts are negotiated and rules are administered for the next 11 years, through the 2030 season.

The NFLPA is scheduled to hold a regularly scheduled meeting in Key Biscayne, Florida, Sunday through Tuesday, though many of the votes are likely to have been cast prior to the players convening. The players will be electing a new union president on Tuesday. Current president Eric Winston is no longer an active player, a requirement for the post.