The NFL Players Association (PA) continues to seek answers from the NFL on how and what the 2020 season will look like.
Players have complained on social media that there is a lack of clarity in these meetings.
@TomBrady The leagues needs your voice right now.. We need our Leaders on these calls with the NFL. Ask you as a fellow athlete, as a brother, as one of the most respected players of All-Time… We Need To Hear You #Salute✊🏾 #Unity
— Jarvis Juice Landry (@God_Son80) July 10, 2020
Thus far, the NFL has felt the lowest impact among professional sports amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is largely due to the fact that the pandemic happened 6 weeks after the Super Bowl.
The Virtual Draft worked, and player Zoom meetings have kept things progressing during the offseason.
But the first shoe dropped in late June when the Hall of Fame Game (scheduled for August 6) and Enshrinement (August 8) were cancelled.
The bad news continued to roll out a few days later when 2 of the 4 scheduled preseason games were dropped from the schedule to give the players more time to prepare.
The two sides have struggled to even figure out the best way to meet since the NFL wanted the meetings to happen outdoors at training camp, but the players wanted them to be held virtually.
As previously mentioned, the number of preseason games has already been cut from 4 to 2.
The NFL-PA wants to have no preseason games; whereas, the NFL wants to keep it at 2.
Both sides continue to be at an impasse on this issue.
Under the modified schedule, the first preseason games will begin on August 20.
Full squad training camps are scheduled to open on July 28.
To date, the NFL and NFL-PA have not agreed on specific testing protocols.
Of course, players and coaches who test positive will be quarantined and not allowed to practice, but the devil is in the details and those aren’t yet fleshed out.
Sadly, there is no reason to believe the NFL will be any different than MLB and the NBA which had numerous players test positive when reporting back to their teams.
The two parties have discussed an opt-out program where players can decide not to play during the 2020 season because of the risks/impact of the pandemic on themselves and their families.
A player who opts out would have his contract resume in 2021.
This is known as contract “tolling.”
How this impacts the salary cap and team rosters is yet to be determined.
Last, but certainly not least, the economics have not been resolved.
The NFL has floated the possibility of holding 35% of player salaries in escrow to manage the costs of the season.
You can imagine how that idea went over.
How did the NFLPA react to the NFL's proposal to escrow 35% of player salaries this season?
NFLPA executive Don Davis told players on a conference call: "Basically, we told them to kick rocks."
Union's stance is any escrow deal must be collectively bargained. https://t.co/b3c7ihAOiD
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 7, 2020
What is clear is that Landry is correct that the NFL-PA needs a lot of voices including Tom Brady’s on these calls.
No professional team in any sport has yet to play a regular-season game since the pandemic hit.
The stakes are high.
Let’s hope the NFL and the NFL-PA take the time to work through the issues to provide the best chance for a 2020 NFL season.