It’s finally full speed ahead to football in 2020. The NFL and NFLPA have reportedly agreed to a plan to settle the financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic as it relates to the league in 2020 and beyond. This agreement paves the way for training camps to begin and sets out requirements for the upcoming regular season.
One of the most important considerations in this negotiation was how to deal with a drop in player salaries as a result of overall revenue lost by the league. After the NFLPA proposed spreading that decrease out evenly over the ten years of the new collective bargaining agreement and the league’s early position seemed to be to have all of it hit in one or two years, the two sides came to a compromise. Any impact on the cap will reportedly be divided up over the next four seasons after 2020, with the league agreeing to keep the 2020 cap in place at $198.2 million and the 2021 cap no lower than $175 million.
That still means that teams will not have to trim down their rosters farther than initially expected for this season, but cuts will almost certainly be coming with an eye on 2021 and beyond. The Green Bay Packers currently has about $184 million committed to the cap in 2021, according to OvertheCap.com, meaning they would need to find a way to shed as much as $9 million more off their books without even accounting for any additional acquisitions or contract extensions. That could be accomplished by restructuring some veteran contracts, but it may also require a painful roster cut or two.
Additionally, the plan includes provisions allowing players to opt out of the upcoming season and receive a stipend for 2020. However, they must do so within the next ten days to be eligible. Furthermore, players would not receive their game checks in the event that the league cancels all or a portion of the season.
The camp schedule is also specified in this deal, with the first date that teams can hold full-pads practices coming on August 16th. That allows for a 20-day ramp-up period prior to full contact. Along with that date would come another deadline: the lower roster limits, which will drop from 90 to 80. The deal reportedly requires that teams make that round of cuts before that August 16th date. Teams may stay above 80 players until that point, but must not have more than 80 players inside their facilities at any time.
Here’s the full proposed schedule:
Per sources, camp timeline in the NFL's proposal ...— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) July 24, 2020
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.
With this agreement in place, training camps will begin in earnest. The Green Bay Packers’ veteran players were scheduled to report for camp on Tuesday, July 28th; stay tuned to see if that date indeed remains.