FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said a new labor agreement could be in place by the Super Bowl “if we all commit to it and work hard at it.”
Goodell made it clear Wednesday that NFL negotiators are willing to do so.
“There’s no higher priority than getting a collective bargaining agreement,” he said following a day of meetings with NFL team owners. “So we will work night and day to get that done.”
Asked whether he expects the same from the NFL Players’ Association, Goodell said, “I hope so.”
NFLPA spokesman Carl Francis said, “We have no comment at this time.”
The major sticking point is the owners demanding to restructure the players’ share of designated revenues. Another point of contention is the owners wanting to turn two preseason games into regular-season games; the union fears more injuries and has countered with a request for additional roster spots and cutting offseason workouts by about one-third from the current 14 weeks.
Goodell said the league has no deadline, but noted the collective bargaining agreement expires March 4.
“This becomes harder after the labor agreement expires,” he said. “We want to get this done as soon as possible.”
At the league’s fall meetings in October, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he considered it realistic to have a new CBA by the end of the regular season, which is Jan. 2.
Goodell said he doesn’t think it is practical to expect negotiations to get serious enough fast enough for that to happen. However, he said, “I think the end of the postseason is realistic.”
Kraft left the meetings saying he didn’t want to discuss the negotiations.
“Just a lot of discussion. Nothing’s changed. We’re still hopeful of getting an agreement at some point, but I don’t have any substantive comment about where we are,” New York Giants co-owner John Mara said. “I’m always optimistic until proven otherwise.”
Colts owner Jim Irsay said these negotiations felt like all the others he’s been involved with over the last few decades.
“There’s nothing that’s unusual or anything earth-shattering right now,” he said. “The process continues is the best way to put it.”