The San Francisco 49ers are formally back on the field on Monday, April 10, as they will launch their 2017 offseason workout program. Players have been working out and/or rehabbing primarily on their own. They have been able to use the 49ers facilities, but thus far, the closest they could come to working with coaches is being overseen so as to avoid injury.
Starting Monday, players can begin working officially with coaches. There will be extensive classroom work throughout the program, but there are limitations these first two weeks as far as on-field work. Nonetheless, it is the first big step of the offseason. As such, it is time to familiarize ourselves once again with the rules, which come courtesy of Article 21 of the CBA.
The first section of Article 21 emphasizes the workouts are voluntary. Of course, 26 players on the 49ers roster have workout bonuses included in their contracts. Some veterans often skip workouts, but with a new coaching staff in place, I would not be surprised if the 49ers had close to full participation.
The only mandatory event of the offseason workout program is a mandatory minicamp in June. That is discussed in Article 22 of the CBA, and I'll break that down separately as it approaches.
The workout program involves nine weeks of work, but nothing on the weekend. Teams get ten weeks to work in the nine weeks of the program. Since the 49ers have a new head coach, they get 12 weeks to complete the nine weeks of the program. They also get a voluntary minicamp the week before the NFL draft.
Here is a rundown of each phase of the program, along with pertinent dates
Phase 1: The first two weeks of the workout program. Limited to only strength and conditioning, and physical rehabilitation. Only full time or part-time strength and conditioning coaches, who have no other coaching responsibilities with the Club, are allowed on the field. No footballs can be used, except that quarterbacks may elect to throw to receivers provided they are not covered by any other player. Players cannot wear helmets during Phase 1.
49ers dates: April 10-13, April 18-21
Voluntary minicamp: April 25-27
Phase 2: This covers the next three weeks of the workout program. All coaches are allowed on the field. On-field workouts can include individual player instruction and drills, as well as the entire offense or entire defense on the field, but not offense vs. defense. This also includes special teams, meaning you can have the kicking or return team on the field, but not kicking vs. return.
No offense vs. defense drills are allowed, meaning no one-on-one OL vs. DL pass rush/pass protections drills, no WR vs/ DB bump-and-run drills. Players cannot wear helmets during Phase 2.
49ers dates: May 1-4, May 8-11, May 16-18
Phase 3: This covers the next four weeks of the workout program. During this period, teams can conduct up to ten days of organized team practice activity (OTAs) and a minicamp of no more than three days in length.
No one-on-one offense vs. defense drills permitted, but team offense vs. team defense dills are permitted. This includes 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11. Players can be required to wear helmets, but shells are not permitted. No live contact is permitted. (e.g. "live" blocking, tackling, pass rushing and bump-and-run).
49ers OTA dates: May 22-23, May 25, May 30-31, June 2, June 5-6, June 8-9
Mandatory Minicamp: June 13-15
Hours of work
Prior to the OTAs and minicamp, players may be at the facility no more than 4 hours per day, no more than 4 days per week, and not during weekends. They may not spend more than 90 minutes on the field per day. The team can only specify 2 specific hours in a given day during which is "suggests" that the player be at the club facilities. As I read that, they can plan 2 hours of specific times for meetings with position coaches or strength and conditioning coaches, but otherwise, it cannot be "pre-planned" to the hour.
For OTAs, players can be at the facility a maximum of 6 hours per day, with a maximum of 2 hours on the field for any given player.
NFL salaries are paid out for the regular season. Players can adjust it to be paid throughout the offseason, but they earn the money based on regular season games on the 53-man roster. They do not receive base salary payments for the offseason workout program or training camp.
Aside from the workout bonuses mentioned above, players who participate in workouts or classroom instruction are to be paid $215 per day. Players must complete 3 out of 4 scheduled workouts, including scheduled OTAs, per week to be paid for any workout completed that week, except if there are less than 4 scheduled workouts in a week. In that case, they get paid each day they participate. So basically, if there are 4 scheduled workouts, they have to do at least 3 to get paid for the week.
Players who participate may also receive expenses for travel, board, and lodging. This does not count toward the salary cap so long as it is considered a "reasonable" amount.
If a player gets hurt during the offseason workout program, they will be protected in the same manner as if injured during training camp, so long as they are working out at the Club's facility under the direction of a Club official.