This evening has seemingly brought good tidings with regards to the negotiations between the NFL and the NFLPA and the protocols for a return to work. With training camps across the country still scheduled to open on July 28, many issues remain unresolved, but important steps have been reportedly been exchanged tonight.
According to multiple reports, the league has reportedly offered to the players several key objectives that they have been pushing for, including no preseason games. In addition, talks have commenced regarding entering training camp with daily testing, which may drop to ever other day if the positive test rate is low for an extended period. They are also discussing an extended warm-up period.
Hearing the NFL has budged on a lot more than daily testing. League is offering 0 preseason games, and expanding the acclimation period (no hitting) from seven to 18 days. NFLPA has yet to agree. Seems this is all coming down to financials.
— Sam Farmer (@LATimesfarmer) July 20, 2020
All three of these have been key concerns for the NFLPA, and late reports are indicating that the league has extended these offers to the union. Though a part of me can’t help but wonder if it’s in part to call a bluff in case they were willing to exchange one preseason game for other gains elsewhere. Now the players union cannot possibly relinquish on playing no preseason games since it’s a matter of public record.
That’s completely unsubstantiated by me, though, of course. Presumably the union is resolute about not playing preseason games, thereby unnecessarily risking exposure while mixing multiple groups of controlled environments for the sake of exhibition.
It should be emphasized that these reports do not indicate that anything has been agreed to; however, with the league allegedly being willing to dispense with the preseason games, it would seem pretty likely that we won’t be seeing them this year.
Obviously, this would have major implications on anybody on the fringes of the roster, but player health and safety trump job opportunities. Either way, 53 players will be on every roster. The total number of jobs will remain the same.
It remains to be seen how things will be resolved, but if tonight’s accounts are an indication, the NFLPA’s unified messaging and communication appears to have been effective in helping to get the NFL to come to their point of view.
This is in contrast to the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations from earlier this year, in which the union was divided among more veteran players and younger players. The NFL fed the younger players incrementally larger pay raises, but players as a whole suffered losses in other areas, and the player body barely voted to pass it.
This is different, of course. A virus doesn’t care about how much money you make or how secure your job is. Anybody can be infected, and can then in turn expose others, including vulnerable members of their family, to the virus. That’s an issue for which it’s much easier to have unity.