The NFL and the players union continue to negotiate a return to football for 2020. There are plenty of sticking points, with health and finances being the stickiest. At this point, we won’t see an agreement done quickly.
The NFLPA has requested daily Covid-19 testing, no preseason games, financial compensation for players who opt out of the season due to Covid-related reasons, and assurance that the 2020 salary cap won’t fall, per ESPN’s Dan Graziano.
The NFL, on the other hand, has proposed two preseason games and all of the injury/Covid related questions, such as how a player with Covid will be designated, are still up for debate, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
NFL training camps are scheduled to open on July 28th, but the league says if any one team cannot open training camp due to Covid-related problems, no team will open their camp. Two teams’ rookies can report to camp by this Saturday, so an owners meeting is scheduled for this Friday to discuss the issues, per Pelissero.
The timeline doesn’t appear to be conducive to rookies reporting on Saturday. Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic writes:
Obviously, things can change a little bit with some of the player negotiations,” the source said. “For the most part, the big items are, we sort of already know about the economics in the league . . . So my gut is sort of go or no-go on training camp starting on time. There’s a number of cities and counties that are still concerned about training camp that have some semblance of verbal approval. But given the recent [COVID-19] developments [in so many] states, I think there’s some concern from the Washington, D.C., office on the political side of the NFL around where we all stand. So it’s all going to come down to the next couple days here.
When the NFL shut down operations, there was so much time until training camp that many believed the pandemic would be trailing off by then. Unfortunately, there has been a surge in many states, including states with multiple teams like Florida, Texas and California. A postponement of the season is the last thing the NFL wants to do, as they’ve shown that keeping the timetable is of utmost importance.
We are coming to a crossroads and the NFL starting on time is looking more difficult the closer the season approaches.