The coronavirus may not directly delay the start of 2020 training camps but the pandemic’s economic impact may be what does. According to reports from Tom Pelissero and Mark Maske, owners may not open the doors to training camp until they and the union reach an agreement on football’s financial future.
Per Pelissero, the league may instruct coaches and players to have virtual training camps until the economic future is decided. Owners are pushing for loss of revenue to be swallowed whole whereas the union wants to take it bite by bite, those losses spread out over several years.
Maske paints an even darker picture.
Even a virtual training camp does little to prepare players for the season. It’s just an extension of OTAs and minicamps conducted throughout the spring and can’t replace live reps in practice. The union has always angled for a long on-ramp to the season, making any time lost impact that plan.
To date, neither side has seemed to budge much on their economic stance. If the NFL gets its way, the cap will be slashed and football’s middle class will go up in smoke as teams scramble to get under the significantly lowered cap. If the union gets what they want, owners and the league will feel the impact of the pandemic for potentially a decade.
It seems unnecessary to tie the start of training camp with this complicated, economical question, one that doesn’t need to be solved right this moment, but the league is played standard hardball to get what they want.
Training camps are slated to begin on Tuesday the 28th. For the first few days, players will only be getting tested for COVID-19 with recommended self-isolation waiting for results. Once a player has tested negative twice, they’re allowed to enter the facility and officially begin training camp.