The 2021 NFL offseason is in full swing. Rookie minicamps are beginning this week, with Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and mandatory minicamps shortly after that. What dates are 2021 NFL OTAs taking place, who attends, and what exactly are they? PFN has all the information you need right here!
Editor note: This article is accurate as of May 7 at 9:00 AM ET. As new information is known, this article will be updated.
When are the 2021 NFL OTAs?
Arizona Cardinals: May 25-27, June 2-4, June 7-10
Atlanta Falcons: May 25-27, June 2-4, June 14-17
Baltimore Ravens: May 25-27, June 2-4, June 7-8, June 10-11
Buffalo Bills: May 24-25, May 27, June 1-2, June 4, June 7-8, June 10-11
Carolina Panthers: May 24-25, May 27, June 1-3, June 7-10
Chicago Bears: May 25-27, June 1-3, June 7-10
Cincinnati Bengals: May 24-26, June 1-3, June 7-10
Cleveland Browns: May 25-27, June 1-3, June 7-10
Dallas Cowboys: May 24-25, May 27, June 1, June 3-4
Denver Broncos: May 24-25, May 27, June 1-2, June 4, June 7-8, June 10-11
Detroit Lions: May 25-27, June 2-4, June 14-17
Green Bay Packers: May 24-25, May 27, June 1-2, June 4, June 7-8, June 10
Houston Texans: May 24, May 26-27, June 1, June 3-4, June 7-8, June 10-11
Indianapolis Colts: May 25-27, June 2-4, June 7-10
Jacksonville Jaguars: May 24, May 26-27, June 1, June 3-4, June 7-10
Kansas City Chiefs: May 25-27, June 1-3, June 8-11
Las Vegas Raiders: May 25-27, June 1-3, June 7-10
Los Angeles Chargers: May 24-25, May 27, June 2-4, June 7-8, June 10
Los Angeles Rams: May 24-25, May 27, June 1-3, June 7-10
Miami Dolphins: May 24-26, June 1-3, June 7-8, June 10
Minnesota Vikings: May 24-26, June 1-3, June 8-11
New England Patriots: May 24-25, May 27, June 1, June 3-4, June 7-8, June 10-11
New Orleans Saints: May 25-27, June 1-3, June 7-10
New York Giants: May 24-25, May 27, June 2-4, June 14-15
New York Jets: May 24, May 26-27, June 1, June 3-4, June 7-8, June 10-11
Philadelphia Eagles: May 25-27, June 2-4, June 14-17
Pittsburgh Steelers: May 25-27, June 1-3, June 7-10
San Francisco 49ers: May 24-25, May 27, June 1-2, June 4, June 7-8, June 10
Seattle Seahawks: May 24, May 26-27, June 1, June 3-4, June 7-10
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: May 25-27, June 1-3, June 14-17
Tennessee Titans: May 24-25, May 27, June 1, June 3-4, June 7-10
Washington Football Team: May 25-27, June 1-3, June 8-10
2021 NFL Offseason changes
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.
Phase 3 is when teams will begin to commence 2021 NFL OTAs and mandatory minicamps. Franchises are allowed to hold in-person meetings, but they are voluntary and must maintain COVID-19 testing, tracking, facility access, and other protocols. 2021 NFL OTAs will be conducted for a maximum of 10 days with no live contact.
Who will be attending NFL OTAs?
OTAs are typically the first time teams will see their entire 90-man roster practice together. Due to them being voluntary, many players are opting to sit out due to the pandemic. The NFLPA is pushing for all voluntary offseason activities to be virtual as they were last season. They have cited lower injury rates last season and the risk of contracting COVID-19 as key reasons.
The number of staff and players allowed in team facilities will be monitored, but vaccinations will not be required. Players with workout bonuses in their contract will attend most offseason events. Yet, the NFLPA has urged those without such benefits to stay away. Players injured at team facilities will have wages protected, but injuries sustained outside are not the franchise’s responsibility.
Where are the 2021 OTAs being held?
NFL teams usually conduct OTAs at their facilities. Some will be at their training facilities, while others will host practices 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 maximum time allowed for on-field work during OTAs is two hours per day. The total time permitted for an entire day of practice, meetings, and classroom time is six hours. Any meetings or classroom activities can be either in-person or virtual and is up to the team.
What should we expect from OTAs?
During OTAs, coaches are trying to install their offensive and defensive schemes. Generally, 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. 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted with helmets on but no pads.
Non-contact injuries do occur despite OTAs having zero physical contact and helmets only. These injuries can be attributed to players going full speed and vying for one of the 53 final roster spots. As many have not pushed their bodies in explosive drills, it is common for players to suffer serious injuries. There are also accidental and awkward knee-to-knee type hits that occur.
The value of OTAs
2021 NFL OTAs are voluntary, but it provides an important time for fringe veterans and rookies to demonstrate their ability and leave impressions on coaches. Specifically for the 2021 rookie class, OTAs will allow them to catch up to the NFL speed and grasp the playbook. With many opting out of the 2020 college football season, the offseason program will be more crucial than ever.
The main goal of coaches and staff is to keep their players healthy during OTAs. Second to that is building the foundation of their culture on and off the field. Any time to teach and coach is invaluable, and thus, so are OTAs. For veterans, it allows them to work on fundamentals and improve conditioning after time off.
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