Throughout the past week or so, with the coronavirus spreading around the globe, many around the NFL wondered if the new league year would start on time. There were plenty of reports and speculation surrounding the league pushing back the start of the new league year from March 18. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that NFL sent a memo to teams, informing them: Negotiation window, aka “legal tampering period” will start as planned on Monday at 9 a.m. PT. With the league new year starting on Wednesday at 1 p.m. PT. The Franchise designation ends once the tampering period begins. Get ready for a wild 72 hours. Maybe not for us, but the NFL.
It appears as if the league feels comfortable enough moving forward. Free agency is a practice that doesn’t necessarily have to involve physical contact (except for physicals). The NFL has never missed a chance to steal the spotlight, and this is no different. We’ve seen the NHL, NBA, PGA Tour, and MLB all suspend play with the coronavirus. Because of the lack of physical contact, the league likely didn’t feel a need to push the start of the league year back. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall in those meeting rooms to see who wanted to postpone the start of the league year and who was fine with carrying on with “business as usual.”
And while free agency will proceed without disruption, it appears the NFL Draft will not take place at its scheduled date of April 23-25 in Las Vegas. Andy Slater is reporting the NFL has already informed host hotels in Vegas that the event is off, and Pro Football Weekly’s Hub Arkush is reporting that the NFL Draft will not take place until at least late May. The NFL has yet to comment officially on the status of the draft, however.
Per Schefter, NFL says NFLPA would not provide consent to move league year, per source.
NFLPA says: No one is traveling anyway. It’s not football activity, it’s deals. Everyone is working remotely. Let’s do our business remotely. And this could get worse before it gets better. So do it now.