It’s been four months since COVID-19 infected the NFL offseason (and literally everything else), and the complexity of the situation has not lessened at all.
Sooner or later, players will have to make the decision to risk their health to play this year; and their decisions could ultimately be originated via advice from their agents.
For new Bengals cornerback Trae Waynes, his representation is suggesting that he not rush into team workouts until he signs his three-year contract he agreed to in March.
“I’ve advised Trae not to do any football drills, not to get out there on the field, certainly don’t do any live drills against other people,” Waynes’ agent Brian Murphy told Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. “And my hope is that he’s following my advice ... He’s gotta be creative, he’s gotta find different ways to be at peak physical performance. But assuming he’s not doing the one-on-one drills, assuming he’s not battling other players, he’s just not gonna be where he otherwise would be in a normal year.”
The Bengals officially announced the signings of Waynes and the seven other free agents they acquired this offseason back in April. Due to the fact that the team hasn’t opened up the team facilities to the players, no one has been given a team physical yet, and none of the contracts have officially been signed yet.
This issue will not be exclusive to Waynes, but it is ultimately his decision to make. The 27-year old has already moved his family to Cincinnati, and all signs point to the two sides finally putting pen to paper when the time finally comes to do that.
Bengals vice president Troy Blackburn had this to say to Breer:
“We regret the challenges that have arisen this year with processing contracts due to coronavirus. The Bengals are very excited about adding Trae to the roster and are confident that he will be a good player here, but unfortunately issues relating to coronavirus have made contract execution matters harder than anyone wishes. Hopefully agreements can be reached soon between the NFL and the NFLPA that allow the season to get underway, at which point these issues go away.”