The majority of free agency and the 2021 NFL Draft have come to a close. Now, franchises and players alike turn their attention toward the rest of the 2021 NFL offseason. With rookie minicamps fast approaching, when do NFL veterans report to mandatory minicamps, and what do they entail?
Editor note: This article is accurate as of May 6 at 1:45 PM ET. As new information is known, this article will be updated.
When are the 2021 NFL mandatory minicamps?
June 7-9: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
June 8-10: Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles,
June 15-17: Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans, Washington Football Team
The NFL made a few changes to the offseason schedule laid out in the collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The 2021 NFL offseason is nine weeks in length and divided into three phases. Phase 1 runs from April 19 to May 14, Phase 2 from May 17 to May 21, and Phase 3 is from May 24 to June 18.
Teams will hold Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and mandatory minicamps during Phase 3. OTAs are optional and are conducted over 10 days at full speed without contact. Meetings can be either virtual or in-person, but one NFL mandatory minicamp is required for all players. Capacity limits are still in place from the last offseason to ensure safety.
Who will be attending NFL mandatory minicamps?
OTAs are typically the first time teams will see their entire 90-man roster practice together. However, OTAs are voluntary, and many players are opting to avoid voluntary work due to the pandemic and issues between the NFL and NFLPA. Thus, teams will likely have to wait until mandatory workouts to see the entirety of their roster at once.
The number of staff and players allowed in team facilities will be monitored. No one will be required to be vaccinated to enter. Players injured at team facilities will have wages protected, but injuries sustained outside may void a player’s contract. Players with workout bonuses in their contract will attend most offseason events. Yet, the NFLPA has urged those without such benefits to stay away.
Mandatory minicamp is an exception as not only are there harsh financial penalties for not attending, but it is another chance for players to leave their mark in the minds of coaches and decision-makers.
Where are the 2021 mandatory minicamps being held?
NFL teams usually hold their mandatory minicamps at their facilities. Some will be at their training facilities, while others will host the minicamp at their stadium. This is different from training camps, where teams often take their team out of the facilities to train at an external site. The CBA states minicamps cannot be longer than 10 hours. Moreover, on-field work must be less than two-and-a-half hours per session.
Typically, minicamp begins with a physical on Monday, on-field work from Tuesday through Thursday, and a day off on Friday. Of the three days of on-field work, only two can deploy two-a-day practices.
What should we expect from mandatory minicamps?
During mandatory minicamps and OTAs, coaches are trying to install their offensive and defensive schemes. Live practices are a chance for players on the bottom of rosters to showcase their ability. They can also prove their grasp of the playbook.
Non-contact injuries do occur despite minicamps being helmets only with no physical contact. These injuries can be attributed to players being allowed to go full speed and prove their worth. As many have not pushed their bodies in explosive drills, it is common for players to go down with serious injuries. There are also accidental and awkward knee-to-knee type hits that occur.
The value of mandatory minicamps
Mandatory minicamps are extremely valuable for coaches to gauge the status of their roster. It allows them to begin making tweaks to their playbooks. Additionally, they will gain insight into which players they should keep an eye on. Meetings and practices will be far more critical this offseason, with many players opting out of the 2020 season.
Rookies will be building on their frames in NFL weight rooms while also trying to understand new plays. On-field work, paired with virtual and in-person meetings, will allow all players to prepare for training camp.
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