Training camps are set to open over the next week for all 32 teams.
However, on-field team work could be delayed if the NFL and NFLPA can’t agree to a deal on how the season will be conducted amid the coronavirus outbreak, according to a report from NFL.com.
And if no deal is reached, teams may be prevented from allowing players to practice together, and the virtual offseason could essentially be extended into training camp.
A failure to reach a deal by the end of the upcoming weekend could cause virtual work to continue indefinitely.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported Thursday that owners continue to push for an agreement to lower the salary cap in 2020 and 2021 in anticipation of a multibillion-dollar revenue shortfall this year — proposals the players’ union and general managers believe could lead to a rash of veteran cuts.
There currently is no set deadline to account for such a revenue shortfall, but Pelissero reported ownership wants to finalize a deal before Sunday when the Chiefs and Texans rookies are scheduled to begin strength and conditioning. If there is no agreement by Sunday, Pelissero added the NFL could potentially inform clubs that virtual work will continue indefinitely with no camp schedule agreed to.
The NFL wants to find ways to save money since it will lose millions of dollars largely due to there being limited or even no fans at games this coming season. But taking the players’ money — especially for the 2020 season — doesn’t sound like a fair move at all.
It’s one thing to reduce the salary cap for future seasons, but doing so for the remainder of 2020 will put both players and teams in really tough spots with the regular season under two months away now.
It will likely force teams to restructure contracts or even outright cut veterans they otherwise planned on keeping. It also hurts teams like the Bengals who need all the cap space they can get to work out new deals for impending free agents A.J. Green and Joe Mixon.
Granted, this is a very hard situation in unprecedented times for everyone, so you can’t blame the NFL for trying to find unique ways to overcome the loss of money it’s about to endure.
But changing the salary cap for 2020 this close to the start of the season seems like a really bad idea that is now threatening to delay the start of camps, and possibly the regular season.