With training camps just around the corner, and after spending the last few months negotiating with each other, the NFL and the NFLPA have reached an agreement on a Coronavirus deal — effectively adding the resolutions agreed upon to the Collective Bargaining Agreement signed into effect earlier this year. This means that football is now officially back, and that camps around the league are ready to be kicked off in the coming days.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell released the following statement about the agreement:
The NFL clubs and the NFL Players Association approved an agreement that broadly resolves all outstanding issues relating to the opening of training camps and start of the 2020 season. Training camps will begin as scheduled.
We have worked collaboratively to develop a comprehensive set of protocols designed to minimize risk for fans, players, and club and league personnel. These plans have been guided by the medical directors of the NFL and the NFLPA and have been reviewed and endorsed by independent medical and public health experts, including the CDC, and many state and local public health officials. The season will undoubtedly present new and additional challenges, but we are committed to playing a safe and complete 2020 season, culminating with the Super Bowl.
The NFLPA also released a statement after its board of representatives — a group of 32 active players also including the New England Patriots’ Matthew Slater — voted to adopt the NFL’s latest proposal:
Our NFLPA Board of Representatives voted to adopt, by a count of 29-3 the proposed amendments to the 2020 Collective Bargaining Agreement to protect our players’ health, safety and financial well-being.
The deal itself ensures that a legal framework for both players and teams is in place as the former begin returning to their respective facilities all over the country. It also means that the two sides have reached agreement on the outstanding issues after already reaching common in regards to safety and testing procedures: a likely revenue decrease has been covered, a cancelation scenario, the details a player opt-out clause for the 2020 season and roster sizes.
The details look as follows:
Salary cap for 2020 and beyond: The loss of revenue, which is expected because games will take place with a substantially scaled-back number of spectators or no audience at all, will not impact this year’s salary cap. Instead, it will be spread out over the next four years. As for the 2021 season, a salary cap floor of $175 million has been agreed upon: if projections turn out to be accurate, this is the number teams will operate with; if revenues are better than expected, the cap will be raised accordingly.
Season cancelation: In case play gets suspended at one point during the season due to Covid-19, the league follows a simple rule as reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport: no play, no pay. This means that salaries and incentives will not be paid in case games are stopped, while anything not paid in 2020 will become guaranteed next year. Pending free agents, meanwhile, will get money from a pool to make up for lost income.
Player opt-out: The inclusion of an opt-out clause for players was already discussed earlier this month, but now we know the details. Per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, there will be a distinction between high-risk opt-outs and voluntary opt-outs. The first group will receive a $350,000 stipend and get accrued/credited seasons, while the second will get a $150,000 stipend but no accrued/credited seasons.
Roster sizes: Training camp rosters, as previously reported, will get smaller this year: as opposed to the normal 90 players, only 80 will be allowed in. Teams can start reducing rosters at any point but will have be at 80 by August 16. Accordingly, clubs have two weeks worth of training camp practices — as well as the virtual offseason — to base their decisions on.
With the deal now done, we are officially “on to camp.”