NFL free agency is slated to start on March 18. That’s just a few days from now. The backdrop here is rather obvious. While the league office wants us to believe it is business as usual, it really isn’t.
Other major professional sports leagues in North America have suspended their seasons due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and pandemic. As that’s happening, the NFL still plans on starting the new league year next week.
According to this report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, multiple NFL teams are skeptical that this is indeed going to come to fruition. The report cites concern over continuing with free agency while the United States deals with a national emergency. That includes players and executives traveling across the 50 states.
The most interesting point mentioned here are physicals. The NFL has already banned pre-draft visits between teams and prospects. What makes the league think that said ban should not be extended to impending free agents?
At some point, the NFL is going to have to take action. We’re talking about a pandemic that seemingly has no end in sight right now. President Trump declaring a national emergency and the travel restrictions the federal government has placed on international flights being two recent examples.
There has been some talk that the NFL will ultimately decide to push back free agency should the players approve the collective bargaining agreement. Voting on that process ends Saturday.
We’ll obviously have more on this story as it develops. For now, it’s foolhardy to believe that free agency and the new league year will start on March 18.