Although all the details of the 2020 season are not worked out between the NFL and the Players Association, it seems both sides are satisfied enough for teams to begin training camp in the coming days. A statement from the NFL was released Friday afternoon saying teams were prepared to move forward.
We just wrapped up a productive call with the 32 clubs pic.twitter.com/sRn5Bnl33O— Brian McCarthy (@NFLprguy) July 17, 2020
While it appears NFL training camps are on schedule, there still a number of issues which need resolved. Most importantly, the NFLPA is standing up for what they believe will be the most safe measures before its members. If teams are not compliant with what players feel is a same environment, a battle between the two sides could ensue.
Our statement on supporting player members: pic.twitter.com/RzhpM4SUnT— NFLPA (@NFLPA) July 17, 2020
Although all parties, including fans, would like to see all the issues regarding the upcoming season get resolved in order to move forward with a definitive plan, it appears the two sides are working things out in an order of operations to where they can continue towards holding the 2020 season. As much as teams would like to know exactly how the lost revenue projected for this coming season will affect the salary cap in 2021 and beyond, it may become an issue which continues to be a discussion well into training camp.
And, of course, there’s still the issue of preseason games.
Players still want all preseason games eliminated, league continues to resist. Possible compromise involves going down to just one preseason game per team, but NFLPA doesn't want any. Thinks it raises infection risk unnecessarily (i.e, the games don't count).— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) July 17, 2020
Currently, the Steelers are scheduled to begin training camp on Tuesday, July 28. With the opportunity for rookies to report sooner, the Steelers have not officially announced a date in which they expect them at the facility. It should also be noted the Steelers have yet to officially announce the signing of any of their 2020 NFL draft picks.
Two teams to watch as training camp approaches are the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs as they are set to begin camp before other NFL teams since they’re opening game is on Thursday night in Week 1. The earliest any players can report would be their rookies on this coming Monday. Once the team says players need to report, there’s not really anything the players can do other than file a grievance if they feel teams are not following safety protocols.
What if players don't get what they want in health/safety talks? "We've explored all our options," is all De Smith would say. Per sources, players really can't strike, could file grievance over unsafe work environment. But that's tougher if the IDER plans are in place & approved.— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) July 17, 2020
As you can see, the situation is constantly evolving and updating. It seems both sides are wanting a 2020 NFL season, but exactly how it will look is still up in the air. As long as both parties are working together moving forward, it would be a good bet for fans to stay “cautiously optimistic” about teams holding training camp in the coming weeks.
UPDATE: The NFL has released a memo of training camp start dates for all teams with the exception of the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs. Rookies are scheduled to report Tuesday, July 21.