By Steve Kelly
The NFL plans to expand the regular season to 17 games in 2021 — a historic move that would generate new revenue and could at least slightly soften an anticipated drop in the salary cap next year.
An announcement may not come for weeks, if not months, since the NFL must first negotiate at least one new media contract in order to make the move to 17 games in 2021, per the collective bargaining agreement. But as one team source apprised of discussions said: “We’re all anticipating it’s going to happen.”
In turn, the preseason would be cut to either two or three games. There still would be one bye week per club, extending the total regular season to 18 weeks and pushing back the Super Bowl into the second week of February.
The NFL has played a 16-game regular season since 1978, when it added two games to each team’s schedule. Under the new CBA finalized this past March, the league and/or clubs have the discretion to increase the number of regular-season games per club to 17 — but not more — at any time, in concert with a reduction in the number of preseason games to no more than three.