The NFL and the NFL Players Association agree to a virtual offseason program
(CNN) — In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the NFL and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) have reached an agreement on modifications to the rules regarding offseason workout programs and minicamps.
CNN has obtained a memo of those changes. The memo, dated Monday, is addressed to team chief executives, presidents, general managers and head coaches and is from the NFL Management Council.
Starting next week, there will be a “Virtual Period” portion of the offseason program that allows for online meetings while team facilities remain closed. Later there will be an “On-Field Period” for when team facilities reopen. The virtual period will be from April 20 through May 15.
During the virtual period, teams can conduct classroom instruction, workouts, and non-football educational programs using Skype, or any other appropriate platform, on a “virtual” basis.
When team facilities reopen for the on-field period, teams may resume offseason workout programs, including all permissible on-field activities, under the customary rules in the collective bargaining agreement.
The reopening of team facilities will occur in accordance with protocols established by the NFL, conforming with federal, state and local rules and regulations, and only after consultation with the NFLPA, which will be made widely known to teams at the appropriate time.
If one or more NFL team facility remains closed for any period of time, all team facilities will remain closed during that period.
Teams that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2019 regular season can — if they choose to do so — begin the virtual period for three consecutive weeks, plus hold a voluntary veteran minicamp, for a total of four weeks. Teams with incumbent head coaches can begin the virtual period for three consecutive weeks starting April 20. The latest teams can begin the virtual period is April 27.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, any team that had hired a new head coach after the 2019 regular season would have been able to start their offseason programs on April 6, while the rest of the league would have started April 20.
As it has been in previous years, the offseason program is voluntary to players. Veteran players who participate are to be paid the $235 daily minimum amount, and players with offseason workout bonuses must be credited for their participation in those sessions.
Each team may elect to continue its offseason workout program beginning May 18, either under a virtual format or under an on-field format, depending upon conditions.
The virtual period will end and the on-field period will begin for all teams at any point during the offseason workout program when all NFL team facilities have reopened.
All offseason workout programs end for all teams on June 26.
“Both our Executive committee and Board of Player Reps have voted unanimously to approve a virtual offseason program up until the start of training camp,” the NFLPA said in a statement. “We will be sending out all the details and setting up calls with players and agents for how this will work shortly.”
Training facilities are indefinitely closed and it’s unknown when they could reopen, an NFL spokesperson has told CNN. That will be determined by the latest medical recommendations and also latest regulations from public authorities.
The NFL has told CNN that it hopes to start training camps, preseason games and the season on time, but that will depend on the latest guidance from medical experts and local, state and federal regulations.