The NFL and its players’ union has agreed on a blueprint for how they will conduct the offseason amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NFL and NFLPA have reached an agreement on a voluntary offseason program set to start April 20, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported, per sources informed of the agreement. The virtual period of the program can begin next week, but no on-field work is allowed until all 32 club facilities can reopen.
Club facilities will only open in accordance with NFL protocols and federal, state and local rules and regulation, Pelissero added. Only if all 32 facilities can open will any of them open; otherwise, all will remain closed during the period.
The virtual period will consist of three consecutive weeks of classroom instruction, workouts and non-football educational programs using videoconferencing technology. An extra voluntary veteran camp will be available for new coaches, with the virtual period ending no later than May 15, per Pelissero.
Teams are permitted to send players workout equipment and monitoring devices — e.g. kettlebells, resistance bands, Apple watches, etc. — provided the cost for any individual player doesn’t exceed $1,500, Pelissero added.
The plan, which was under discussion between the NFLPA and NFL management council for weeks, was approved Monday via vote.
“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.”
If club facilities do not reopen during the offseason program, the window for which concludes June 26, there will be a secondary option for teams. Organizations can conduct a mandatory veteran minicamp on a virtual basis, with limits of two hours of classroom time and two hours of workout time, Pelissero reported.
The league’s usual offseason schedule has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced all teams to close facilities and work remotely. The 2020 NFL Draft will be conducted entirely remotely as facilities remain closed in accordance with federal, state and local laws.
The agreed-upon plan provides the league’s 32 member franchises with guidelines and a framework within which they can plan and conduct offseason programs as normal as possible amid widespread uncertainty during this unprecedented time.