Restoring labor peace to the NFL, the owners Wednesday agreed to the players' union proposal, extending the collective bargaining agreement for six years.
"We're delighted with the new CBA and that a salary-cap system was preserved," said Bob Harlan, Packers president and CEO. "Continuation of the salary cap was our number-one goal because without it the long-term viability of the Packers would be in doubt.
"This has been a very difficult two days of meetings for me, John Jones (Packers E.V.P. and COO) and John Underwood (former Packers treasurer and NFL revenue-sharing committee member). But the resulting new labor deal protects the future of the Green Bay Packers. Dramatic revenue-sharing will enable all clubs to be competitive in this new system. We supported revenue sharing and are very happy to see it continued.
"We have always felt that the National Football League had the best system in professional sports and fortunately we have been able to maintain that system, which creates 32 competitive teams."
"I feel we have a system that will enable Green Bay to continue to be a very competitive team," added Jones. "That was a very serious concern to all of us as these years have gone by and not knowing what the CBA would hold. I feel we've got a deal we can work with and that will enable the Packers to be a competitive team for the future and for our stadium to continue to give us the opportunity to be competitive because of the revenue it generates.
"I don't think we could have gotten approval of the CBA if it had not been for revenue sharing that gave confidence to the lower-revenue teams that they could afford to pay for the deal. This deal will cost the Green Bay Packers more, but it will cost us more in proportion to our revenues and to where we rank in the league. There's a fairness aspect to us that we thought was extremely important. The economic system of the league, and how the teams operate within it, is largely preserved by this deal. And that was very important to us, that we could continue to operate Lambeau Field and all of the events there, and continue to have the revenue generation we see as an important part of what's going to happen to the Packers in the future."
The vote passed by a 30-2 margin, with two low-revenue teams, Cincinnati and Buffalo, voting against it.
The agreement comes after a week of on-again, off-again negotiations, which twice delayed the beginning of free agency, and culminated in a two-day owners meeting in Texas.
Free agency now will start at 12:01 a.m. ET on March 10.