ATLANTA — Owners showed widespread support for going to an 18-game schedule but want to implement the change as part of a new labor agreement.
The current deal expires after the upcoming season.
"I think it's a win-win all around," Patriots owner Bob Kraft said after a five-hour meeting. "There's not a lot of ways in this economic environment we can generate incremental revenues. The other thing, our fans have said pretty loud and clear they'd like us to have fewer preseason games."
The owners would like to keep the season at 20 weeks, reducing preseason games from four to two.
"We want to do it the right way for everyone, including the players, the fans and the game in general," commissioner Roger Goodell said. "There's a tremendous amount of momentum for it. We think it's the right step."
The owners held off on voting on a specific proposal that could be presented to the union. Among the issues that still must be resolved: when to start the expanded regular season, roster expansion to cope with more games, and changes in training camp and offseason routines.
Many players questioned the idea.
"With 16 games, every game is important," Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer said. "I think if you go to 18, each game kind of loses a little bit of its significance."
Players also are concerned about an increased injury risk.
"I would vote to eliminate two preseason games and then keep it at a 16-game season because the longer you're out there playing, the more your body breaks down," Bears tight end Desmond Clark said. "When you get into December, you're like walking zombies. You can't feel your joints."
Browns linebacker Scott Fujita said the timing of the proposal is odd considering the owners want the players to accept a smaller share of the revenue.
"They are asking you to play more games and put yourself at more risk, and they are also asking us to take a pay cut," he said. "All those things don't make a whole lot of sense."
Vikings-Dolphins trade: Minnesota acquired receiver Greg Camarillo for cornerback Benny Sapp. Minnesota must replace Sidney Rice, a Pro Bowl pick last season out with hip surgery, and former Gator Percy Harvin, who has practiced little due to migraines (though did so Wednesday for the first time since collapsing last week). Tuesday, they signed former Seminole Javon Walker. Last season, Camarillo had 50 catches for 552 yards and no touchdowns. Sapp, who started seven games, will provide depth for the Dolphins. Will Allen recently had his second left knee surgery in a year.
Bears: Linebacker Brian Urlacher missed his third practice with a strained left calf and is questionable for Saturday.
Bills: Receiver James Hardy practiced after missing 15 days with an undisclosed injury.
Broncos: Left tackle Ryan Clady, an All-Pro in 2009, practiced for the first time since tearing his left patellar tendon in a basketball game in April. Also, receiver Demaryius Thomas, the 22nd pick in April, missed practice for tests on his left foot. He broke it during predraft workouts and aggravated it Aug. 7. Results were not disclosed.
Chargers: The agent for Vincent Jackson said the team has given him the impression it isn't inclined to trade the Pro Bowl receiver. Unhappy that he hasn't been given a long-term deal, Jackson hasn't signed the one-year, $3,268,000 contract he was tendered as a restricted free agent and remains a holdout.
Cowboys: Owner and general manager Jerry Jones said he expects starting left guard Kyle Kosier to return for the season opener. He was expected to miss up to three games with a sprained right knee.
Eagles: Running back Mike Bell, who has battled calf and hamstring problems for most of camp, expects to make his preseason debut Friday.
Giants: Quarterback Eli Manning practiced with a helmet for the first time since suffering a 3-inch cut on the left side of his forehead Aug. 16 and said he will play Saturday. Also, punt returner and backup cornerback Aaron Ross was diagnosed with a torn plantar fasciitis in his right foot. He will be in a cast for 7-10 days, then re-examined to determine a timetable for his return.
Rams: The league approved Stan Kroenke, who already owns 40 percent of the team, buying the rest. But because the NFL bans ownership of pro teams in other NFL cities, he must turn over control of the NBA's Nuggets and NHL's Avalanche to his son Josh by the end of the year and give up his majority stake in the teams by December 2014.
Seahawks: Starting left guard Ben Hamilton likely will sit out Saturday. The team did not disclose the injury, but he watched practice with an ice pack on his knee. Starting left tackle Russell Okung already is out 2-4 weeks with a high right ankle sprain.