The NFL's desire to add a 17th regular-season game is one of the major obstacles in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement, and the Players Association is eyeing a compromise.
While the league wants to implement the plan as soon as possible, players are pushing to delay the first 17-game season until 2022 or 2023, a source told Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio.
The NFLPA arrived at that stance because many players are under contract well beyond 2021, and time is needed to devise a system that compensates them for the extra game, according to Florio.
The NFL and the NFLPA meet Thursday for the latest round of CBA talks, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo. The current agreement expires after the 2020 campaign.
The players will enter the meeting with a final list of their demands, and a vote is likely if owners agree to meet those wishes.
Players have expressed health and safety concerns regarding the league's push to expand the regular season, with many saying the current 16-game slate already takes a significant physical toll.
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, who serves on the NFLPA executive committee, has been among the most vocal critics of a 17-game season.
Prior to Super Bowl LIV, Sherman blasted the league for what he sees as a hypocritical stance on player health.
"It's always odd when you hear player safety is (the NFL's) biggest concern," Sherman said on Jan. 29, according to Wells Dusenbury of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "They're really standing up for player safety, player safety, player safety, but it seems like player safety has a price tag. Player safety up to the point of 'Hey, 17 games makes us this much money, so we really don't care how safe they are if you're going to pay us this much money to play another game.
"That's the point that’s really concerning for us as a union and us as players. They think players have a price tag on their health and I don't think we're in the same ballpark in that regard. Players have been more aware of player safety and longevity and just life after football."
On Wednesday, Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill said the data proves adding a 17th game wouldn't impact the health of players.