Even though the NFL is proceeding as if the 2020 season will start on time, there are still a lot of issues to work through.
The league and players union are scheduled to hold a call today to figure out how to mitigate the economic fallout of the pandemic.
The NFLPA sent the NFL an economic counterproposal, per sources:— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 11, 2020
- No escrow of 2020 salaries
- Flat salary cap of $198.2M for 2021
- Spread revenue loss this year over 2022-2030 caps
- All fully guaranteed money paid even if games are canceled
Call scheduled for Monday.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the two parties will try and figure out the following issues:
Acclimation period: Players want a slow ramp-up, from working out to taking the practice field, to avoid injuries and to get comfortable in the new working environment.
Opt-out clauses for players: What happens to a player’s contract if he decides to sit due to COVID-19 concerns, and does he get an accrued season?
Whether trimming the 90-man training camp rosters to avoid unnecessary contact is the right thing.
Equipment modifications: Players are lukewarm about wearing masks over their helmet bars, while the NFL has been working with Oakley on a yet-to-be-revealed design.
Economics: How to share lost revenue, with players knowing they have to take a loss somewhere to offset the lack of fans in the stands, but with the league’s offer to place 35% of salaries in escrow considered a non-starter.
The NFLPA has already voted against the salary drop, but that is something that should end up being negotiated. With the NBA and MLB targeting to play games again later this month, the NFL will have the opportunity to have guinea pigs on how to proceed with its season.
While the pandemic looks like it isn’t going away anytime soon, I think the league will have to be creative. Moving players from city-to-city come with a huge risk. Positive coronavirus cases are increasing across the country, so the league shouldn’t think its players are exempt.
Training camp is set to begin in just over two weeks. Players will be reporting to their home markets soon, so that should give the league enough time to deal with any positive cases that may arise.
I’m still not overly confident that the NFL’s plans will go off without a hitch, but we should know more after Monday’s conference call.
How confident are you that the NFL season will go on as planned?