According to Patrik Walker of CBS Sports, the NFL and NFLPA are already working on a new CBA. The current one is set to expire after the 2020 season, and if both sides can come to an agreement beforehand, that could potentially change the aspect of how things are handled.
One thing on the block is talking about a 17-game schedule would allow all teams to play at a neutral site. Although the new league year doesn’t start until March 18, there’s no better time to start working on a new agreement sooner rather than later. Another topic up for discussion is the drug testing of players that includes cannabis.
At this moment, the NFL has the harshest punishment when it comes to players testing positive for marijuana, leading up to a possible indefinite suspension. Players are looking for a full-decriminalization of the substance. Drug testing on players begins April 20th, yes you read that correctly on 4/20, with some players not being tested until August.
With the new CBA in the works, players are also looking to shrink the window from four months to two weeks. The NFLPA could also win on the topic of drastically reduced penalties, and suspensions would happen “only in the event of extreme and repeated disregard of the policy” or in instances wherein the player has a “significant violation” of criminal law in their respective jurisdiction. (Patrik Walker, para 4).
Though this wouldn’t follow MLB in erasing the drug completely from testing, it would help keep Godell and his people from hunting down players and dropping the hammer (*cough reinstate Josh Gordon cough*)
Cowboys owner weighed in the CBA reports stating,
“I think the world is sensitive to the issue regarding marijuana,” he said, following the latest collective bargaining agreement talks in Dallas. “It’s also an issue contemporarily we’re excited about being in step with the social and legal scene as it goes forward. And, so, we not only have the interest of competitiveness in mind when it comes to any type of substance, we have the issue of the law, and we have the issue of the society focus on it. All of that does receive attention when you’re discussing this area with players.”
“I think that [we can] expect an adjustment [in the] present way that marijuana is being thought about.”
It is still unknown if the agreement will be made prior to March 18th, which could help it go into effect for the 2020 season, or if it would happen after to the start of the league year which means business as usual until 2021.
This is definitely something to keep an eye on as the deadline is just around the corner.
Source: Walker, Patrik of CBS Sports posted on February 17th, 2020