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The rules for the 49ers 2018 offseason workout program

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The 49ers get their offseason workout program underway on Monday. Here is the full rundown of rules.

The San Francisco 49ers formally return to team activities on Monday, April 16th, launching the 2018 offseason workout program. Players have been working out on their own through the offseason, with some choosing to use the 49ers facility if they were so inclined. Strength and conditioning coaches could oversee their workouts to prevent injury, but that was the extent of the allowable football interactions.

Beginning Monday, players can officially start working with the coaching staff. The on-field work is a slow build-up from strength and conditioning work to individual drills to team drills. However, there will also be extensive classroom work throughout the program.

This is a big step in the offseason, and so once again we are here to break down the program rules, according to Article 21 of the NFL-NFLPA collective bargaining agreement..


The first section of Article 21 emphasizes the workouts are voluntary. 24 players on the 49ers roster have workout bonuses included in their contracts. Sometimes veterans will choose to skip portions of the offseason workout program, and so workout bonuses are included in contract negotiations to incentivize attendance.

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.

Time Periods

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. The past three years the team has gotten 12 weeks to complete the program due to having a new head coach. The return of Kyle Shanahan for a second year means they do not get the early start.

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 start date: April 16

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: TBD

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 21-22, May 24, May 29-30, June 1, June 4-5, June 7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14

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.

Injury coverage

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.