NFL could see ‘rash of veteran cuts’ before 2020 season?

By Matt Johnson
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020 NFL season is fast approaching with teams making their final preparations before training camp begins. Facing a dramatic economic hit this year created by the COVID-19 pandemic, things could get rocky this season for players across the league.

NFL, NFL Players Association negotiating economic plan for 2020 season

The NFL and NFLPA have engaged in negotiations for weeks regarding the 2020 season. After finally agreeing on safety protocols, COVID-19 testing and numerous other health issues, both sides are now focused on the greatest crisis facing the NFL.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL is bracing for a staggering hit to its revenue this season. The league anticipates losing billions of dollars in stadium revenue, which would deal a devastating blow to the salary cap for the 2021 season.

Everyone involved in football has benefitted from the NFL salary cap increasing by $10-plus million in each of the past six years, according to CBS Sports. Now facing $4-plus billion in lost revenue, the NFL and NFLPA are negotiating an economic plan for dealing with the looming hit.

The players’ union has proposed a flat cap in 2021, which we explain here. However, team owners want most of the financial blow to be experienced this season and next. According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, that could have significant consequences on players throughout the league.

Heading into this offseason, the NFL set its 2020 salary cap at $198.2 million. If the league were to reduce that to account for lost revenue, numerous clubs would be forced to make significant cuts.

According to Spotrac, 12 NFL teams have less than $10 million in cap space heading into the season and 20 have less than $6 million in cap flexibility. If owners reduced this year’s cap number by $10 million, it would lead to a wave of marquee names being waived before the season.

Ultimately, both sides should reach an agreement on an economic plan for the 2020 season. Owners reportedly want a deal reached by Sunday and progress has been made in negotiations. If both sides fail, though, things could get ugly for the NFL.