The NFL is close to an agreement that would change the format of their postseason, per a new report.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, there is "mounting optimism" that the NFL and NFLPA are nearing an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement, with the current one set to expire after the 2020 season. If the new CBA doesn't hit any snags, the expectation is that the league will shift to a seven team per conference postseason format next season.
Seven teams making the playoffs in both the AFC and NFC would mean that 14 total teams make the playoffs, as opposed to the 12-team format that the NFL has utilized since the 1990 season.
What's more, per this report, there would no longer be two teams that get first-round byes. The top overall seed in each conference would still get a bye. The No. 2 seed in both the AFC and NFC would become the top overall seed playing on Wild Card Weekend.
This story comes as a surprise, as the most pressing issue being discussed in the new CBA negotiations is believed to be the expansion of the regular season to 17 games. The NFL has played 16 regular season games since 1978. Schefter says that the move to a 17-game season - and the elimination of one preseason game - is a hurdle that still needs to be cleared. Unlike the expanded postseason, this report says that the 17-game regular season wouldn't begin in 2020 even if the two sides hammer out a new CBA involving an additional regular season game for the future.