NFL owners approved the proposed new collective bargaining agreement in a vote Thursday, the league announced.
The CBA proposal reportedly includes an expanded playoff field, in which seven teams from each conference would qualify, and would eventually add a 17th game to the regular season, among other changes.
The NFLPA needs to approve the same terms in order for a new CBA to be adopted. Union representatives have a conference call scheduled for Friday afternoon to continue negotiations and potentially vote. Two-thirds of player representatives need to approve the terms of the CBA in order to move to the next stage of the process, in which all NFL players vote and an agreement requires a majority.
"Following more than 10 months of intensive and thorough negotiations, the NFL players and clubs have jointly developed a comprehensive set of new and revised terms that will transform the future of the game, provide for players - past, present, and future - both on and off the field, and ensure that the NFL's second century is even better and more exciting for the fans," the league said in a statement.
"The membership voted today to accept the negotiated terms on the principal elements of a new collective bargaining agreement. ... Since the clubs and players need to have a system in place and know the rules that they will operate under by next week, the membership also approved moving forward under the final year of the 2011 CBA if the players decide not to approve the negotiated terms."
The owners' vote reportedly wasn't unanimous, according to Garafolo.
Several players shared their criticisms of the proposed CBA via social media on Wednesday and Thursday.