It’s not exactly what the players want, but the NFL has reportedly offered to cut the preseason from two games to one this summer.
Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported Monday morning that the NFL’s latest proposal to the NFLPA includes a one-game preseason. Under this proposal, the single preseason game would be played in what is normally the third week of the exhibition period — the week of August 27.
NFL players want no preseason games, three-week acclimation period
While the NFL’s latest proposal is better for the players than it had been previously, it does not include everything they want.
The NFLPA has made it clear that it desires a 21-day acclimation period for strength and conditioning. Players wouldn’t even put helmets and pads on until after this period of time was over. The idea is to mitigate an anticipated rash of injuries due to the lack of any real offseason, which was seen in a big way back in 2011 after the lockout.
The new reported proposal would give players an extra week before playing a game, but it would not give them that full 21-day acclimation period.
And, of course, it still includes a preseason game. Players have made it abundantly clear that they believe any preseason games would be detrimental to the main goal of finishing the 2020 NFL season.
NFL training camps start this week, but grievances could follow
The league announced on Saturday that camps would begin on time, despite an explosion of positive COVID-19 cases in the United States. The NFLPA has instructed players to report to training camp, which opens this week. The reason is that teams have the right to fine players if they don’t report.
At this time, there remains no agreement between the NFLPA and NFL over health and safety protocols. Players took to Twitter in force as a collective group on Sunday to blast the league for not prioritizing health and safety. Among the messages sent by many prominent players was a threat that football may not happen this fall without meeting their demands.
There is an anticipation that the players union will ultimately file grievances against the NFL. In addition to the other demands we laid out previously, players also want daily COVID-19 testing — something the owners have not been amenable to whatsoever. Without that layer of protection, it’s likely that lawyers will get involved before this is over.
There’s also a far less likely outcome: That players could strike over coronavirus-related health and safety issues.