How the new NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement helps retired players


Much of the focus on the new NFL CBA has been on the benefits current players will receive. But the new CBA may be even more important for the NFL’s retired players.

According to the Mount Laurel-based NFL Alumni group, the NFL’s more than 10,000 retired players or alumni will all receive dramatically increased benefits as part of the new CBA between the owners and players.

After a week of voting, the CBA proposal was approved by the current players by a very close vote of 1,019 to 959, the NFLPA announced Sunday. A simple majority is needed to approve the proposal.

The collective bargaining agreement, negotiated by the NFL Players Association and the owners' management council, governs all aspect of NFL operations and runs for 10 years.

The proposed CBA includes major improvements that we at NFL Alumni sought for many months from owners and the union,” reads a statement on the NFL Alumni web site. “The document includes higher pensions—some by as much as 60 percent– for all alumni; a reduction in pension requirements from four to three vested seasons for all alumni; and a $50,000 Health Reimbursement Account for all vested players who previously had not been eligible due to their retirement date.

According to the NFL Alumni, average pensions for players will go from $30,000 per year to $46,000 per year, and more than 10,000 former players will realize that benefit.

The change from four years of credited seasons to three to become vested for a pension provides a $19,800 annual pension for life for former players with three years of NFL service but not four. That figure is expected to increase to $22,000 in 2025 based on expected annual NFL revenue growth. That affects an estimated 3,000 retired players.

According to NFL Alumni, retired players 65 or older will see a 25 percent increase in their Medicare supplement benefit.

Also, according to the release from the NFL Player Alumni's website, the new CBA calls for “all retired players to receive free or low-cost screenings, preventive care, mental health services and orthopedic care at a new national network of top hospitals created by the owners and the union.”

All of this is crucial considering what we've learned in recent years about the long-term physical and mental affects of playing football.

The complete CBA has not yet been made available.

An outline of the basics of the new CBA was posted on the NFL’s web site

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