NFL teams are turning players away from team facilities this morning. But they won’t do that tomorrow, barring an appeals court giving the league an immediate stay of Judge Susan Nelson’s order ending the lockout.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said on today’s PFT Live that, unless something happens with the appeals court this afternoon, players should be allowed into team facilities tomorrow.
“We — just moments ago — notified our clubs that we think it’s appropriate under the circumstances to take additional steps in response to the injunction,” Aiello said. “So the facilities will open tomorrow at 8 a.m. Eastern time. In the meantime, clubs are free immediately to start contacting players and let them know when the facilities will be open for use.”
Aiello said players can also go to team headquarters for medical exams, meetings with coaches, distribution of playbooks and film study, among other things. And that all 32 clubs can start setting up schedules for organized team activities.
Shortly after Aiello’s appearance, the NFL issued a statement saying that voluntary workouts can begin as well. Players will be paid $130 a day for showing up and, more importantly, these workouts will count toward any offseason workout bonus in the player’s contract. So for players like D’Brickashaw Ferguson, this news could be worth $750,000.
That doesn’t mean, however, that the league year has begun: Transactions like trades and free agent signings can’t start just yet.
“Judge Nelson said it was up to us to determine how to proceed, and we think in light of the fact that the first round of the draft is tonight, clubs are fully focused on that,” Aiello said. “The best way to proceed is for the veterans to start working out at facilities tomorrow, and then we’ll set up the process of starting the league year, which would include player trades and player signings. . . . No player transactions until we start the league year.”
So there will be no trades of players under contract today, although it’s at least theoretically possible that the league year could start tomorrow and players under contract could be traded tomorrow and the next day, during Rounds 2-7 of the draft.
Of course, all of this is moot if the appeals court ruling goes the way the NFL is hoping.
“If they issue that stay, these arrangements would change, obviously,” Aiello said.
So stay tuned.