The Pittsburgh Steelers are now training camp, following the most unique offseason in the NFL since at least World War II. While it didn’t involve a player lockout, teams still did not have physical access to their players, though they were at least able to meet with them virtually.
Even training camp will look much different from the norm, and a big part of that will be the fact that there will be no games along the way to prepare for. There will be no preseason played in 2020, so the first time the Steelers take the field in 2020 will be for the season opener against the New York Giants.
Before we get there, however, there are a number of issues that are outstanding on this team, and this year’s edition of training camp will not provide the level of thoroughness that teams are normally used to in trying to answer those questions.
Questions like, what is the starting offensive line going to look like? Will it include Zach Banner or Chukwuma Okorafor? Who will be the primary nose tackle? How will Ben Roethlisberger look—and the other quarterbacks as well? Now, we even have questions about whether or not players will be in quarantine.
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: What did the NFLPA get back in return for agreeing to allowing the opt-out deadline to be scheduled for 4PM on Thursday?
It was announced last night that the NFL and the NFLPA had finally managed to agree to terms on the revisions to the CBA pertaining to the 2020 season and the economic ramifications stemming from the predicted loss of revenue. The deal was agreed to in principle a week and a half ago, but was held up in entanglements due to ‘lawyers’, as one source told Mike Florio last week.
The major part of the agreement was that the opt-out language would be revised to state that players must opt out by 4PM on Thursday. It previously stated that players would have the ability to opt out seven days after the agreement was finalized—which it had not been until now.
In order for the NFLPA to agree to this change, they surely must have gotten something back in return, but it’s not clear what that might be. It’s likely something minor, at best, since the big issues had already been taken care of. Nonetheless, it was more than nothing.
To date, approximately 50 players spanning about three fourths of the league’s teams have chosen to opt out of participation in the 2020 regular season, though the Pittsburgh Steelers are among the few who have yet to have an opt out. If they will, it must be made official by Thursday evening, roughly two and a half days from now.