We are in store for a unique NFL season. While the league is in the best position to still have a complete season due to its time to prepare (as opposed to MLB and NBA), things still aren’t going to be normal. As Albert Breer of the Monday Morning Quarterback pointed out this week, minicamps are [basically] dead. So are organized team activities.
Teams are having virtual meetings, but players are being counted on for working out on their own and staying in shape. While some players might be up to par with that, you can guarantee that there will be a level of disparity with respect to the conditioning levels from player to player.
With that said, according to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, the league and the NFLPA are discussing allowing certain players, such as rookies and new veteran players, to visit team facilities prior to June 26. This could be for things like taking a physical, or getting acclimated to their new team:
No dates set yet and no minicamps expected, but the NFL and NFLPA are discussing the possibility of certain players -- such as rookies, and veterans who changed teams and need physicals -- returning to club facilities on a limited basis before June 26, per sources.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) June 8, 2020
In preparation for teams returning to team facilities, the NFL sent a memo to clubs about social distancing guidelines that must be in place in order for the facilities to be opened to players and activities. It is worth noting that the NFLPA may still have something to say about these things, as JC Tretter alluded to on Twitter:
Players: A reminder to be wary of any updates or information about returning to work from the league or your team. Contact me, your rep, or your player director to receive accurate updates as we push for the safest possible return to work.— JC Tretter (@JCTretter) June 8, 2020
The last interesting thing that Breer points out is that NFL training camps could begin in mid-July instead of the end of July like they usually do. In addition, the new CBA allows for a 5-day acclimation period to begin sooner, closer to mid-July. However, considering all of the OTAs, minicamps, etc. that have been missed, you don’t want players jumping straight into the full throttles of training camp right off the bat. There could be some negotiation to spread training camp out a little more and start it sooner to allow for players to get conditioned and better acclimated to team football activities again. It’ll be an interesting storyline to follow in the coming days and weeks.