What the new collective bargaining agreement means for Falcons

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NFL players voted to approve a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) late Saturday night. The previous CBA was set to expire in 2021.

The new agreement runs through the 2030 season and includes a number of significant changes from year's prior.

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Here's what the new CBA agreement means for the Falcons moving forward:

Salary cap increase

The salary cap has been increased to $198.2 million per team, up $10 million from 2019, according to reports.

With the legal tampering period set to begin on Monday at noon, this is significant for the Falcons as it provides more flexibility. NFL teams are given a two-day window to begin negotiations with potential free agents before the new league year begins at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff has adamantly said Atlanta is not in the perceived "salary cap hell" and will get creative to ensure they are able to acquire the players they want.

The bump in the salary cap will certainly help in that regard.

Dimitroff said the Falcons will let tight end Austin Hooper and linebacker De'Vondre Campbell and guard Wes Schweitzer test the market but are keeping the door open in terms of their return at the right price.

Matt RyanJulio JonesGrady Jarrett and Deion Jones have all been rewarded new contracts in the last three seasons. Desmond Trufant and Devonta Freeman were also given lucrative contracts following the 2016 season.

Get ready for a 17-game season

With the players approval, NFL owners now have the option to expand the regular season from 16 to 17 games as early as the 2021 season.

The details of how it would work have not been determined yet, but it's widely expected to happen.

A number of factors play into the decision mainly regarding how they determine who gets the extra home game if this were to happen.

The playoffs will be expanded

The NFL is expanding the playoff field from 12 teams to 14 starting in the 2020 season.

Each conference will have seven teams representing in the postseason.

This will make the final weeks of the regular season more interesting as the seeding will become that much more important.

Only the No. 1 seeded teams from the AFC and NFC will be given the first-round bye. The bye week for the No. 2 seed will be no longer as this team will now be playing in the Wild Card round.

Rosters expanded for gameday and practice squad
The roster on gameday will now increase from 46 to 48 players, giving teams two more spots to utilize players from their practice squad. Following the game, the two players who were promoted for the game will return to the practice squad.

Practice squads will also increase from 10 players to 12 starting this season.

*Training camp will feature less padded practices *

In the previous CBA, each team was allotted 28 padded practices during training camp. Now, teams will be limited to 16 padded practices that can only last 2.5 hours.

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