As the NFL and the Players Association push towards and agreement towards a safe return for players to begin training camp, Ian Rappaport of the NFL Network reports the NFL has dropped the proposal for the preseason to a single game.
Per source, the league today offered the union zero preseason games. A big step.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 20, 2020
Although no official announcement has been made, the NFL had reportedly already decided to drop the number of preseason games from four to two for the 2020 preseason, followed by one on Monday morning. Games scheduled on preseason Weeks 1 and 4 had been eliminated. In the proposal this morning, it is reported Week 3 would be the only preseason contest. It now appears no games will be played.
The NFLPA had recommended to the league no preseason games be played this year ever since negotiations began. With more players on each team’s roster for preseason games, the chance of exposure would be increased. Additionally, since players are not paid their salary for the preseason but merely a stipend which maxes out around $2000 per week, the cost/benefit is not something the players feel is necessary.
Of course, coaching staffs would like to have as many preseason games as possible for evaluating players. For those who are trying to land on an NFL team for the first time or have been on the fringe of team’s rosters in years past, not getting the opportunity to showcase their skills on the field inhibits their chances of either making the final cut on their current team or being picked up by another franchise. Additionally, having at least one game for teams to have the opportunity to work through safety procedures before the regular season would have helped address any problems before the season kicks off in September.
On Sunday, many players participated in a social media blitz using the hashtag #WeWantToPlay in order to present a united message of wanting to return to football but under the safest possible conditions. Several Steelers players participated in spreading the message.
There are still some uncertainties in regards to NFL training camp and regular-season procedures in order to keep the players and all personnel as safe as possible during the global pandemic. With rookies scheduled to report to training camp on Tuesday, both sides will continue to work towards safety protocols in order for there to be a 2020 NFL season. There have been many developing stories throughtout the day Monday as both sides get closer to an agreement.
The Kansas City Chiefs (whose rookies were to report Monday) are one of three teams reportedly who have their IDER plan approved by the NFLPA. The first two days for rookies to report are simply just to perform a COVID-19 test and to return home.
Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain as updates on the current negotiations continue to become available.