The NFL might not be dead set on an 18-game regular season, after all.
Two months after the league reportedly proposed a two-week expansion of the season to the NFL Players Association, The Athletic's Daniel Kaplan reports that the NFL has dropped that idea in favor of something else: A 17-game season.
"Owners were briefed on the change at committee meetings in Houston this week," Kaplan reported Thursday, citing an anonymous ownership source who suggested there's not enough support from either team owners or NFLPA representatives to expand from the current 16-game slate to 18 games.
In the event of an expansion to 17 games, the NFL would also look to reduce the four-game preseason schedule by one or two games, according to Kaplan. That would be consistent with previously reported plans of the league, which has reportedly also weighed the idea of a playoff expansion to make up for lost revenue in those areas.
The NFL has long -- and publicly -- toyed with the idea of expanding to 18 games, but NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith told ESPN this summer that he didn't foresee an 18-game schedule being in the best interest of players -- "under any circumstances." The Wall Street Journal reported in July that league executives proposed a 16-game safety limit for all NFL players under a prospective 18-game schedule, but as Kaplan noted Thursday, that suggestion "was widely mocked as unfeasible given fans would be unhappy if they bought tickets and didn't see all the players."
The NFLPA has yet to comment on whether they would be open to the reported idea of a 17-game season. As reported by Kaplan and previously by NFL Network, no further negotiations are scheduled between the NFL and NFLPA, but they are expected to resume later this year or early in 2020. The two sides' current collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2020 season.