The NFL owners and players made a significant breakthrough on Monday, with the owners agreeing to zero preseason games this season, per NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport.
The owners had planned on cutting the preseason in half from four games to two games, but the players pushed back and wanted no preseason games. The players’ argument was they needed a more significant ramp-up period having had no in-person offseason workout programs.
A joint committee had proposed 21 days of strength and conditioning work, 10 days of non-padded practice, and 10 days of padded practice. By removing the entire slate of preseason games, it makes it easier to ramp up with that schedule heading into regular season football in September.
The biggest drawback to no preseason games is undrafted free agents and late round draft picks lose significant opportunities to put some game film on tape. Even if they don’t make the roster of their first team, some good preseason tape can get them claimed off waivers elsewhere.
The next step is figuring out economics, and that’s no small task. The two sides will sort out opt-out options and how much players will receive if they opt out. Additionally, there is still the issue of how much salaries may or may not be adjusted given the decrease in ticket revenue this year and the potential for the 2021 salary cap to take a serious hit.
But for now, the two sides have come to terms on testing protocols and the preseason, and that’s a big step forward compared to last week.