This post will be updated as more information becomes available. The original version of this story continues after the break.
Update: 2:25pm ET
The NFL cancelled the spring owners meetings that were set to take place at the end of March. This is the first league-wide cancellation. Here is the league’s official statement.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell notified the clubs today that after careful consideration and consultation with medical experts, the NFL’s annual meeting scheduled for March 29-April 1 has been canceled.
There will be full consideration and votes on any open football issues, including playing rules, bylaws, and resolutions, as well as other business matters that were on the agenda for the Annual Meeting, at the Spring meeting scheduled for May 19-20. Most of the first day will be dedicated to football-related issues. Head coaches and general managers will participate in the meeting.
This decision was made consistent with the league’s primary concern to protect the health of club and league employees and the public while enabling the league to continue with its essential business operations.
We will continue to closely monitor developments, consult with leading experts, and be prepared to make any changes necessary as circumstances warrant.
It is also worth noting that the Philadelphia Eagles are closing their facility. Other teams may or may not follow suit.
The world at large is currently dealing with the pandemic crisis known as COVID-19.
First and foremost we hope that you and yours are as well as can be. We love the BTB community and want the best for everyone here.
We all love sports. We all love the NFL. We all love the Dallas Cowboys. You are likely aware of the impact that COVID-19 has had on the sporting world with multiple cancellations (just about every collegiate conference basketball tournament), suspensions of seasons (NBA and MLS), and precautionary measures for fan attendance (the PGA Tour). We included just a few examples.
What is the impact being felt by the NFL?
We are in the middle of March which means that the NFL is in the heart of its offseason. There are important events coming up certainly (free agency, owners meetings, the draft, etc.) and all of them have details that need to be worked out. It seems that the league is in the process of that.
As of the time of this writing multiple NFL teams have already suspended travel for their coaches and scouts. The league office is urging people to work from home. Teams are reportedly considering shutting down their facilities.
While there are no football games being played with things like free agency and the draft looming there is a lot of travel necessary for different staff members. Obviously their safety is of top concern which is why teams are acting accordingly.
Will free agency still start next Wednesday?
The new league year officially begins next Wednesday, March 18th. As of the time of this writing, the NFL apparently feels fine moving forward with that date.
NFL said it has "no plans to move the start of the league year."— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 12, 2020
The start of the league year obviously includes the beginning of free agency. There are a lot of questions concerning this with regards to travel and how players can visit with teams in the middle of the current climate. The truth here is that there really are far more questions than there are answers at the moment.
What about the draft?
At this time there are, again, more questions than answers.
The NFL is reportedly considering what they can do with regards to the draft, it seems as if they have a fair bit of time before they have to make a decision. Many have noted that the draft seems to be an event that doesn’t necessarily require in-person operation, but obviously the draft is an event that the NFL wants to celebrate with its fans.
Two notes:— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 12, 2020
— The NFL has not cancelled any pre-draft visits or workouts. That’s at a team’s discretion.
— The biggest issue for free agency may be getting players physicals. Every year, there is 1 or 2 players who fail, but how does a team ask them to get on a commercial flight?
There are reportedly already player visits being cancelled by teams. Considering that there are other reports that teams are considering shutting down their facilities entirely that seemed inevitable.
What about the Dallas Cowboys? What are they doing?
Decisions are obviously going to be made on a team-by-team basis and the Cowboys appear to have their course of action.
According to both The Dallas Morning News and The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Cowboys are in the process of figuring out travel plans for both scouts and coaches.
Multiple sources say Cowboys are working on measures with their scouts and coaches in regards to travel. Looks like travel will be limited or canceled altogether based on the duties. @dmn_cowboys— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) March 12, 2020
Per sources, Cowboys are working with scouts and coaches to get them off road and keep them safe #CoronaVirusUpdate— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) March 12, 2020
We will continue to update this post as more information becomes available. Stay safe, BTB.