It has been a rather quiet week in the NFL, with very little roster news to get the blood flowing. Fortunately, the month of April will bring numerous opportunities for discussion. The NFL Draft will be the most important source of news, and the NFL schedule release on April 16 will be a big deal as well.
However, there is also some on-field action to follow. Starting April 1, certain teams will be allowed to begin their offseason workout programs. April 1 and 2 mark the start of programs for nine teams, with the rest of the league spread out through April 22. The 49ers are allowed to begin their program on April 15, and it will wrap up with a mandatory minicamp from June 11-13.
The nine week program is broken down into three phases. The CBA specifies on pages 131 and 132 what is allowed in each phase. The first two weeks make up phase one and consist of strength/conditioning work and physical rehabilitation. Footballs are not allowed on the field, although one exception allows for quarterbacks to throw to receivers as long as the receivers are not covered. After that, coaches can join the activities where they will begin working up to more offense vs. defense activities.
Here is the full rundown from the CBA:
(i) Phase One. Phase One shall consist of the first two weeks of the Club's offseason workout program. Subject to the additional rules set forth in Section 5 of this Article, Phase One activities shall be limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only. During Phase One, only full time or part-time strength and conditioning coaches, who have no other coaching responsibilities with the Club, shall be allowed on the field; no other coaches shall be allowed on the field or to otherwise participate in or observe activities. No footballs shall be permitted to be used (only "dead ball" activities), except that quarterbacks may elect to throw to receivers provided they are not covered by any other player. Players cannot wear helmets during Phase One.
(ii) Phase Two. Phase Two shall consist of the next three weeks of the Club's offseason workout program. Subject to the additional rules set forth in Section 5 of this Article, during Phase Two all coaches shall be allowed on the field. On-field workouts may include individual player instruction and drills, as well as "perfect play" drills (e.g., offense or defense only, but not offense vs. defense), or special teams drills on a "separates" basis (e.g.., kicking team or return team only, but not kicking team vs. return team). No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted. No offense vs. defense drills are permitted (e.g.., no one-on-one offensive linemen vs. defensive linemen pass rush or pass protection drills, no wide receivers vs. defensive backs bump and-run drills, and no one-on-one special teams drills involving both offense and defense are permitted.) Players cannot wear helmets during Phase Two.
(iii) Phase Three. Phase Three shall consist of the next four weeks of the Club's offseason workout program. Subject to the additional rules set forth in Subsec tions 5(a) and 5(c) of this Article and Appendix G to this Agreement, during Phase Three each Club may conduct a total of ten days of organized team practice activity ("OTAs" or "OTA days"). The restrictions set forth in Subsection 5(b) of this Article shall not apply to OTA days. The Club may conduct a maximum of three days of OTAs during each of the first two weeks of Phase Three. A maximum of four days of OTAs may be conducted during either the third week or the fourth week of Phase Three, with the Mandatory Veteran Minicamp (Article 22, Section 2) to be held during the other week. During weeks in which the Club conducts only three days of OTAs, the Club may also conduct a fourth day of non-OTA workouts, but such activities shall be subject to the rules governing Phase Two workouts, as set forth in Subsection 2(b)(ii) of this Ar ticle. During Phase Three, all coaches shall be allowed on the field. No live contact is permitted. No one-on-one offense vs. defense drills are permitted (i.e., no offensive linemen vs. defensive linemen pass rush or pass protection drills, no wide receivers vs. defensive backs bump-and-run drills, and no one-on-one special teams drills involving both offense and defense are permitted). Special teams drills (e.g., kicking team vs. return team) are permitted, provided no live contact occurs. Team offense vs. team defense drills, including all drills listed in Appendix G to this Agreement, are permitted, provided no live contact occurs. Clubs may require players to wear helmets; no shells are permit ted during Phase Three of the Club's offseason workout program or any minicamp.