On Saturday, a few of the national media in the NFL hinted at there being chatter in league circles about the league postponing the start of the league year. ESPN’s Dan Graziano said coaches, agents, and execs are saying they expect the league year to be postponed. The NFL hasn’t made an announcement, but that could change Sunday. The deadline for players to vote on the CBA closed Saturday night. ESPN’s Adam Schefter said that it would be business as usual, but also acknowledged that “multiple team officials express widespread skepticism that the NFL can start its league year this week when our country is in crisis and so much — travel, visits, physicals — would have to happen” Something tells me that we’ll be discussing a postponement for the league year at some point on Sunday.
Pro Football Weekly reported on Saturday night that the league already knows the NFL Draft in Las Vegas is off, and they’ll announce after the CBA vote that the event is postponed until at least late May. If that’s true, the dynamic of the draft could change. Teams are already missing info on smaller school prospects, so get ready to see a bunch of seniors or players that teams have info on drafted ahead of smaller school guys that would have had an opportunity to make a name for themselves during their Pro Day. The NFL has canceled medical rechecks, which are far more important than a player running a 40-yard dash. So with a team like the 49ers wanting to gather medical exams during these team visits, that’s not an option this year. I’ve seen others suggest that teams may want to acquire picks in the 2021 Draft instead of this year with the lack of information. That may be extreme, but it’s plausible.
For what it’s worth, there were reporters saying that their sources shot the rumor from above down. A Vegas reporter who covers the Raiders said, “for the record, various NFL sources I’ve talked to have completely shot this down. And NFL Spokesman Brian McCarthy officially said this is false.
Every other sport has caved. For the NFL, it feels like a matter of when not if. Pushing back the start of the league year will change everything. It’ll be strange going on with March without free agency, and just as bizarre not having the NFL Draft in April. I’d rather have the dead time be in March and April, then have free agency, the draft, and we can roll right into the season. That is, assuming the regular season doesn’t get pushed back.