The proposed new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) includes an expanded playoff field, effective for the 2020 season, in which seven teams from each conference would qualify, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Under the revised format, only the top seed in each conference will receive a first-round bye. Players will be paid while on the postseason bye, which hasn't been the case under the current CBA.
The NFL and NFLPA are reportedly getting closer to voting on the CBA proposal. Owners are scheduled to meet Thursday in New York City, while player representatives have a conference call set for Friday, and it's conceivable that votes will take place at those times.
Both sides are hoping to strike a new agreement before the 2020 league year, which begins in mid-March. The existing CBA is scheduled to expire after the 2020 season.
The greatest obstacle to a new deal continues to be the owners' desire to add a 17th regular-season contest. If they get their way, the preseason will reportedly be shortened to three games. Expansion of the regular-season schedule wouldn't be implemented until 2021 at the earliest.
In 2019, a larger playoff field would've seen the Pittsburgh Steelers and Los Angeles Rams qualify as wild cards.