What had been rumored for a few days became reality today as the league announced the cancellation of the NFL International Series due to the ongoing public health situation. But that shouldn’t be considered a sign things to come in terms of the league playing football in 2020. Since our original report on April 23 regarding contingency plans the NFL is making to save the 2020 season, sources have shared with me more information on what they expect will take place this upcoming season, including the league’s plans for training camps to start on time in 2020.
Plans for rest of offseason and start of 2020 NFL training camps
Virtual mini-camps will be starting across the league in one week on May 11. These meetings are expected to take place three to four times a week and will include veterans, players selected in the draft, and players signed as undrafted free agents. I’m told players will be paid for every meeting attended, with rookies at the lower end of the pay scale.
So what’s going to happen with the 2020 NFL season? As of now, it’s business as usual.
I’m told training camps are expected to open on time in July and the league will wait until the last minute before making any announcement should any changes be necessary. Team facilities are not expected to be fully opened until July camp. As one source told me, teams do not want players working out at their facilities in May or June.
The one exception to that will be physicals for rookies and undrafted free agents. As travel restrictions begin lifting across the country, most teams are expected to bring in the first-year players for comprehensive physicals.
NFL thinking outside the box to save regular season (original report April 23)
As most have heard, there have been all types of rumors on future plans for the upcoming NFL season if the current public health situation remains does not dramatically improve. There’s been word of the league quarantining everyone at length in order to play the season as well as numerous other ideas, including potentially shortening the season or playing a full season with a later start. There are even some ideas being kicked around that are too ridiculous to mention.
But as I noted on day one of the NFL Draft, sources in the league’s front office tell me the NFL is talking with Delta Airlines on a variety of issues, including trying to assure that each franchise has two dedicated jets for their use only. These jets would be taken out of general circulation and would be used only by the franchise they are assigned to.
I would suspect these jets would come with dedicated crews who would have to be tested endlessly.
I’m also told that the league is talking to Marriott Hotels with the thought process of securing hotels that will be dedicated to teams in NFL cities.
Details are sketchy at this point, but the overriding theme is that the league is ahead of the curve in leaving no stone unturned in an attempt to ensure the season will kick off this fall.