INDIANAPOLIS -- The NFLPA player reps voted 17-14-1 to send the new collective bargain agreement to a full union membership vote after a late meeting Tuesday night at the NFL combine.
The players in the meeting were strongly divided on the proposal, which includes a 17-game regular season. NFL ownership previously approved the proposal, and the result of the player rep vote was announced Wednesday morning just after 1 a.m. ET.
Comments posted on social media by players like Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson echo Houston Texans' DE J.J. Watt thoughts he expressed in a tweet before last week's conference call with player reps.
Pouncey posted a strong disapproval of the deal to his Instagram story on Wednesday morning.
"I vote no," he said. "Our NFLPA, the dudes at the top, the leaders, that's f'ing bs. F that. They're not looking out for the best of the players. If y'all want my vote, the Pouncey twins vote No."
Maurkice Pouncey is strongly against the CBA. He posted this (NSFW) a couple hours ago:— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) February 26, 2020
"I vote no. Our NFLPA, the dudes at the top, the leaders, that's f'ing bs. F that. They're not looking out for the best of the players. If y'all want my vote, the Pouncey twins vote no." pic.twitter.com/hp4AqlG7Qu
The proposal now goes to the full union for a vote, though it won't be accompanied by a formal recommendation from the player reps because it wasn't approved by a ⅔ super-majority. Sources told ESPN's Dan Graziano that the full player vote won't happen for a few weeks as NFLPA attorneys draft the document.
A simple majority of some 2,000 players must accept the agreement for it to go into effect this year.
While these comments, of course, aren't official votes, they seem to represent the tenor of a small portion of the league. Wednesday morning, NFLPA president Eric Winston and Chicago Bears QB Chase Daniel offered help navigating the agreement.
vote on it and every vote counts.— Eric Winston (@ericwinston) February 26, 2020
I'm happy to hop on the phone with any player at any time and anyone is always welcome to come to our annual Rep meeting or to join any of the numerous calls we have had or will have in the future. Let me know.
SO MANY rumors on what this deal entails for the @NFLPA...any player w any questions/concerns about this deal please reach out 2 me! Ive been at every meeting the past 3 months. Would love to tell u exactly the economics behind this. Player leadership has worked tirelessly for u!— Chase Daniel (@ChaseDaniel) February 26, 2020
Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson II advocated for removing the franchise tag from the new CBA. That is not possible now that the tenets of the agreement have been approved by the player reps.
In Tuesday night's meeting, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers strongly voiced his support for the players and objected to the proposed CBA, multiple sources told ESPN. Rodgers was also vocal on last week's conference call. In Tuesday's meeting, Rodgers advocated for greater changes to the offseason program, including more free time for players, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter.
So can we just let an executive group of NFL agents be a part of our counsel to negotiate our CBA?!? This is rediculous...— David Bakhtiari (@DavidBakhtiari) February 26, 2020
I implore all of the current players to reach out to their agents and consult with them before voting on the CBA proposal. Please get informed by the people who YOU chose to give a percentage of YOUR contract to. Remember, they will act in YOUR best interest. #NFLPA #CBA— David Bakhtiari (@DavidBakhtiari) February 26, 2020
A player rep told ESPN's Josina Anderson that he felt "a lot of stuff is being rushed to get finished. To me I think the whole thing feels rushed, real quick. You know, that's a negotiation strategy on the owners' [part]. Apparently it's worked." And, according to another player-rep source, "they got their votes through fear-mongering."
Sources also told Anderson that several new terms in the current CBA proposal were only negotiated once last season started and a number of the players weren't part of the process. Prior to that, Anderson reported, an additional 17th game was a "non-starter" for many of them. A source told ESPN that the formal addition of the 17th game wasn't officially introduced to player reps involved in the negotiations until the week of the Super Bowl.