Representatives of the owners and players have been negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement. The current CBA runs through the 2020 season.
Owners sought an 18-game season during the negotiations with the players that produced a 10-year labor deal struck in 2011 but abandoned the proposal when the NFLPA objected on player-safety grounds. They renewed that pursuit, at the behest of some owners, during these negotiations. But the proposal did not necessarily have widespread support among the owners this time, and continued to be opposed strongly by the NFLPA, according to those with knowledge of the deliberations.
Even so, some owners are leaving open the possibility of a 17-game season in which each team probably would play one game per season at a neutral site. That could be accompanied by an expansion of the NFL playoff field from 12 to 14 teams, which would result in two additional postseason games per year.
The extra games, either in the regular season or the postseason or both, would be used to boost revenue and offset the loss of revenue from a reduction of the preseason from four to three games per team.