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New CBA won't be agreed to ahead of start of 2019 season

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No further bargaining sessions are scheduled between NFL owners and players over the next week, so as expected, the 2019 season will begin next Thursday without a new collective bargaining agreement in place, sources tell NFL.com.

However, dialogue remained positive between leaders from ownership and the NFL Players Association when they met earlier this week in Chicago, and the sides might reconvene at some point in September.

Through seven formal bargaining sessions and a number of staff meetings in recent months, there still has yet to be a breakthrough on the No. 1 issue, with NFL owners continuing to want more regular-season games and NFL players continuing to want a larger share of revenue without adding regular-season games, sources say. Players are guaranteed 47 percent of total revenue under the current CBA, which is set to expire after the 2020 season.

That means the toughest phase of bargaining awaits, even as the sides continue to make progress on secondary issues, such as current and retired player benefits, player health and safety and increased minimum salaries.

Scheduling in-person bargaining sessions is more challenging once the regular season begins, with player members of the NFL's executive committee and board of representatives focused on games. Also, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith is starting his annual tour of all 32 teams, which will have him on the road until early October.

As NFL.com reported on Aug. 19, NFL owners and players both have expressed an openness to expanding the playoff field from 12 to 14 teams -- a change that would help offset revenue lost by cutting the preseason to three games, which is considered likely.

Follow Tom Pelissero on Twitter at @TomPelissero

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