Before teams can take the field for the 2020 NFL season, the league and NFL Players Association must agree on an economic plan to play football this year. Fortunately, following days of pessimism, things are headed in the right direction.
NFL, NFL Players Association “moving closer” in negotiations
From NFL team owners to players, everyone recognizes the toll the COVID-19 pandemic will take on football. Facing a 2020 season that could be played with limited attendance, or even no fans allowed at all, the NFL is bracing for a staggering hit to its revenue.
After seeing its salary cap increase by $10-plus million in each of the past six years, according to CBS Sports, the NFL faces a far different reality this year. Even if a full 17-week season is played, the 2021 NFL salary cap could drop by $70-plus million per team.
Both sides must agree on an economic plan for this season, sharing the pain of lost revenue brought on by the pandemic. However, the NFL and NFLPA had to prioritize health and safety protocols for training camp and the preseason following a huge social media campaign by NFL stars.
Now that the NFL has agreed to daily COVID-19 testing and zero preseason games, two key demands from the players’ union, the focus can shift back towards an economic plan. Better yet for the entire league, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport indicates both sides are making real progress in negotiations.
If both sides can finalize a COVID-19 safety plan, all players will be at training camp by July 28 and the preparation for the 2020 regular season will begin. Once that happens, it could only be a matter of time before they hammer out an economic plan – potentially using a flat cap – that could benefit everyone around the league.
Will there be an NFL season?
The start of the 2020 NFL season is under two months away and the countdown is on even amid the COVID-19 pandemic. After entering the week with increased skepticism about the season taking place, things are now headed in the right direction.
If the NFL can address the key issues of concerns, notably the economic consequences and safety risks of playing during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is a monumental step for the upcoming season.
Things will certainly be different this season. Travel rules will be different, jersey swaps are forbidden and we will see several players opt-out of playing this year. For football fans and the NFL world, all that will matter is games are being played.