Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the players still need to approve the NFL’s plan, but if they do, training camp will start as scheduled on Tuesday, July 28. The NFLPA executive voted unanimously to recommend the CBA’s proposed changes, which would mean that we start on time. The owners have voted to approve the NFL’s plan to re-start as well. While there are still some hurdles to clear, the NFL and NFLPA are close on economics, opt-outs, and the acclimation period. By all accounts, it appears that we’ll have football. For now, at least.
One of the big questions surrounding the start of the season was what happens if a player opts-out? Well, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said it’s as simple as “no play, no pay.” All salaries and incentives will go away if games are stopped. In reference to “no play, no pay,” that means if games are canceled, players won’t get paid. The NFL-NFLPA leadership have allowed for opt-outs, with a stipend. Players will have to decide within the next 10 days.
As far as the roster sizes go, teams can reduce to 80 players right now. By August 16, each team must be at 80. Per Mark Maske, NFL owners ratified increased practice squads of 16 players per team. So your option is to cut 10 players before training camp begins, or wait until August 16, where practice squads will increase to 16 players. Six of those players can have an unlimited number of accrued seasons. Four players on the practice squad can be protected from other teams on a weekly basis.
Albert Breer said this is the timeline for camp:
Day 1: Testing/virtual meetings.
Days 2-3: Virtual meetings.
Day 4: Testing/virtual meetings.
Days 5-6: Physicals.
Days 7-15: Strength and conditioning (with a day off.)
Day 16: Practice starts.
Day 21: First padded practice.
Day 16 and 17 would have rules similar to Phase II of the offseason program. On Day 18, the helmets can go on. Teams are allowed to have walkthroughs starting Day 7 when the strength and conditioning period begins.
My main takeaway from that schedule is expect there to be some awful tackling early on in the season, and that could mean players such as Jauan Jennings have a better chance to make the roster with his talent after the catch.
Chris Mortensen reported that part of the new CBA agreement was that there would be a fund/benefit established to pay back any benefits eliminated from COVID up to 2023 and to pay back any lost guaranteed money to the players.
The final detail of the NFLPA call discussed the salary cap. The current proposal would leave this year’s cap at $198.2 million and set a minimum of $175 million for the 20201 seasons. Any further shortfall would come off the salary cap through the 2024 season. The NFL has new TV deals that are up after the 2021 season, and many expect the league revenue to sky-rocket then, which would mean a higher salary cap. That was before COVID-19, though. The call began at 12:30 p.m. PT today, so we’ll have updates with the results.