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CBA – The Players Voted Yes and Here’s What It Means For The Dolphins

It’s Official. NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith was confident that the players would vote in favor of the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and he was correct.

Voting closed at 11:59 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 14 with the majority of players voting to accept the new agreement.

The new CBA goes into effect immediately and does not expire until the 2030 NFL season.

Many big name NFL superstars including Russell Wilson, Todd Gurley, Aaron Rodgers, J.J. Watt, brothers Mike and Maurkice Pouncey, and Jarvis Landry all came out publicly that they were not in favor of the new agreement. 

However Miami Dolphins 2019 team MVP Ryan Fitzpatrick was one of the players that supported the new agreement. 

The new deal will have varying impacts on players of different statuses. NFL Francises will also be affected differently depending on roster makeups, current contracts, and many other factors.

Here’s what the new collective bargaining agreement means for the Miami Dolphins.

Schedule Changes 

The new deal provides the NFL owners the option to expand the NFL regular season from 16 games to 17 games. This change could occur as early as the 2021 season.

The owners want more games in order to increase revenue. This would mean an additional opportunity for ticket sales and more importantly bigger TV contracts.

While the rise in profits would trickle down to the players, an extra game increases the probability of sustaining injuries. The average NFL career is 3.3 years according to the NFL Players Association. The wear and tear from an extra game could lower this average. 

According to sportsfacts.org, the Miami Dolphins have ranked in the top 10 for most injuries sustained by a team going back to the 2015 season.

The NFL playoff schedule would also be changed. Each conference would now have seven teams qualifying for the postseason instead of six. Only the top seed in each conference would be awarded a bye week instead of the top two seeds. 

The Miami Dolphins made the playoffs once in the last 10 years. If the new playoff structure was applied to the previous 10 seasons the Dolphins would have no additional playoff appearances. 

Miami Dolphins Advantage

Salary Changes

Many of the CBA changes were focused on player salaries. The Miami Dolphins only have seven players on the active roster with a base salary above $2 million. The majority of those players are earning the league minimum. 

All players with minimum salaries are receiving an immediate raise. Players with less than one year of experience will see their salary increase from $510,000 to $610,000. Players with more than one year of experience are seeing their salaries increase from $585,000 to $675,000. This alone accounts for 29 players currently under contract with the Miami Dolphins. Those salary figures will continue to rise, capping out at $1.185 million by the end of the new agreement.

This new CBA also includes salary increases for practice squad players as well as benefits such as 401(k) and tuition assistance. Players will be paid over 34 weeks instead of 17 weeks with the previous deal.

Miami Dolphins Advantage

Revenue Sharing 

Under the old agreement the”player share must average at least 47 percent for the 10 year term of the agreement.” With the new agreement the players share cannot be lower than 48%. A key benefit for the players is their share cannot be reduced for “stadium credits” as it was in the past. This means stadium renovations and construction will not drop the player share below 48%. 

Hard Rock Stadium is 33 years old and the sixth oldest stadium in the league. The stadium recently underwent renovations that cost over $400 million. Miami will want to host another Super Bowl in the next 10 years. If another massive renovation is required in order to be awarded another Super Bowl, it would not be at the players expense. 

Miami Dolphins Advantage

Roster Changes 

The active game-day rosters will be increased from 46 to 48 players. The practice squad will also be increased by 2 players. The new deal also provides more flexibility for practice squad players to be elevated to the active roster. As the Dolphins move to the next stage of their rebuild, these changes will give Brian Flores more opportunities to improve the roster.

Miami Dolphins Advantage

Free Agency 

The NFL has taken a page from the NBA in this new agreement. There is now a “Veteran Salary Benefit” which makes it easier for teams to resign their own players. If a player has at least four years of service, the team can exclude $1.25 million of each player’s base salary from each year’s salary cap. The Veteran Salary Benefit can be applied to a maximum of two players per team.

The Dolphins have been much more salary cap savvy under Chris Grier. This would be yet another tool to sustain the rebuild.

Teams now can only use either the Franchise Tag or the Transition Tag. This is good news for the Dolphins because they did not have any Tag candidates his year. The change will also result in an increase in the number of available the Free Agents. The Dolphins will have more opportunities to sensibly spend in a buyers market.

Miami Dolphins Advantage

Rookie Contracts 

There is language in the new agreement that should make it easier for the Dolphins to sign draft picks. This is important in a year when they own 14 total picks, including five in the first two rounds. Second round picks now qualify for performance based salary escalators previously only available to later round draft picks. 

All players drafted in the first round will enjoy the same benefits in regards to a fifth-year option. In the previous contract there was a distinction that benefited only the players drafted in the top 10. 

Miami Dolphins Advantage

Discipline Policy

I would like to be the first on record to coin this the “Ricky Williams Rule!” There is an extensive section in the CBA that covers sweeping changes to the policy on marijuana use. The NFLPA memo summarizes it best stating that “violations of law for marijuana possession generally will not result in suspension.” The deal also has reduced suspensions for performance-enhancing drug suspensions. 

However not all the discipline related rules were relaxed. These changes were probably concessions in order for the owners to now enforce harsher penalties for players that attempt to hold-out for larger contracts. The minimum suspension for DUIs has also been increased to a three game suspension.

The new regime of Miami Dolphins seems to have a no tolerance mentality. While the league seems to be taking a progressive approach, the Dolphins may be slow to adjust.

Miami Dolphins Advantage 🤷‍♂️

The Verdict 

Looks like Ryan Fitzpatrick made the right call. Overall, the new CBA fits well with today’s Miami Dolphins. 


Lead Writer for 305Sports.net primarily covering the Miami Dolphins. Jamie is a lifelong sports fan and a student of the game. Jamie religiously attends Dolphins Home Games and considers Miami the coolest city on the planet. You can follow Jamie on Twitter @TheJamieBahamas and Instagram @JamieBahamas

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