A dip in television ratings this season could be the impetus behind the NFL's increased desire for an 18-game schedule, which the player's association expects it will advocate for when the two attempt to arbitrate an extension of their collective bargaining agreement.
The current agreement is due to run through 2020, but poor TV viewership since the start of the season, it's being anticipated by the NFLPA, could force the league to act sooner and push for a new deal, or at least for changes to the present collective bargaining agreement.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has long been a proponent of expanding the season by two games, and offsetting it by shortening the preseason by two games. But Goodell hasn't spoken out publicly about the prospect since 2013.
While many players have generally been opposed to the idea of lengthening the season, it's something that could possibly be used as leverage in negotiations for a new CBA—-to bargain for things like bigger rosters or larger percentages of NFL revenue.
Some, however, still see the inherent risks of playing two more regular season games as not being worth it. They say the NFL is far less concerned with shortening player's careers than lining its pockets.
"It's for the money," Former San Francisco cornerback Carlos Rogers said of the 18-game proposal. "[The NFL] is not looking at careers. They say they want to do all these different things to protect the players. But at the end of the day, you're going to hit every Sunday."
Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate echoed those concerns, arguing that the threat of injury supersedes all else.
"We all want to be out there but our safety is what's important," Tate said. "Longevity is what we're looking for."
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