The world at large has in many ways been put on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Obviously a lot of professional sports leagues have been impacted just like many other parts of our society.
While the NFL isn’t in the middle of any games they do have a lot of offseason things going on that are being impacted. Free agency has begun, and while the NFL Draft is going to happen it will have some details altered in order to comply with proper safety protocols.
One of the events that people have been wondering about was offseason training activities (OTAs) and how they would be impacted. Teams with new head coaches, like the Cowboys, are permitted to begin on April 6th, but that has been changed according to ESPN.
The NFL is changing free agency rules and postponing OTAs
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the NFL is adjusting the way that they are handling free agency. While players are agreeing to terms with teams since the legal tampering window is now open, the league is enacting some policies beyond that.
1 - Clubs may not bring any free agent player, including their own, to a club facility or other location to meet with club personnel.
2 - Club personnel, including members of the club medical staff, may not travel to any location to meet with a free agent player.
Many have noted that free agency is a process that can seemingly be done over the phone and other forms of communication. It seems that this is the direction the league wants all of its teams to take. Still, the idea that no free agents are allowed in the building is daunting to imagine. It is obviously understandable given the current climate of the world.
As mentioned, OTAs are going to be impacted as well. The world at large is being told to avoid congregating for the foreseeable future so as not to spread the virus that is COVID-19 and OTAs are obviously a situation where there are a lot of people involved. The NFL is officially postponing them as a result.
Off-Season Team Activities will be delayed indefinitely. The league and the NFLPA will continue to monitor the developing situation and follow the guidance of medical and public health professionals, including their respective medical advisors to determine an appropriate start date for such activities and other related considerations. We will share additional information that bears on the commencement of the off-season program on a regular basis.
During this period, the league and union, through respective medical consultants, will develop a standard set of protocols for clubs to implement regarding facility cleaning and maintenance, equipment preparation, steps to identify players and staff who may be at elevated risk for the coronavirus and other preventative measures.
Blake Jarwin signed his extension with the Cowboys on Monday and was photographed while at the team’s world headquarters in Frisco. It would seem as if this happened before this protocol was put into place. As of now, no players are allowed inside of The Star outside of medical treatment according to this memo.
Obviously everything relating to COVID-19 is largely unknown and this is an incredibly fluid process. As soon as more information is available with regards to OTAs we will have you updated here at BTB and across our social channels.
Stay safe, everybody.