NFL has “no plans” to move start of league year

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As American citizens continue to come to grips with the dramatic changes to daily life arising from the coronavirus, NFL teams will very soon be courting and signing free agents to multi-million-dollar contracts.

Via Adam Schefter of ESPN, the NFL has “no plans” to move the start of the league year. This means that free agency will begin as scheduled on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. ET, and that as a practical matter free agency will start at 12:00 p.m. ET on Monday, when teams may begin making offers and reaching agreements in principle with impending free agents.

The key phrase is “no plans.” The league used that same phrase a week ago, regarding the potential adjustment of the franchise-tag deadline. And then the league adjusted the franchise-tag deadline.

Nine years ago, free agency happened in early August, after the lockout ended and a new CBA was signed. If free agency can be delayed by more than four months for labor reasons, free agency can be delayed by a couple of weeks or a month for public-health reasons.

Beyond the fact that free agency often entails visits to teams (which shouldn’t be happening now), the question becomes whether fans will care as much about free agency if it happens next week, than if it happens later in the spring. It’s a major offseason tent-pole, and what would have been one of the most fascinating free-agency periods in league history could become an afterthought.

Some would say that free agency needs to unfold well before the draft happens. But the draft also can be delayed to create enough of a spread between the two events, or the draft can happen before free agency.

That’s precisely what transpired during the lockout. The draft went on as scheduled in April, and free agency happened several months later. Again, if the NFL is willing to take unusual steps during a fairly ordinary labor dispute, it should be willing to consider taking unusual steps during extremely extraordinary times.

20 responses to “NFL has “no plans” to move start of league year

  1. I think having the draft first makes better sense. Theoretically it should result in teams drafting based on talent/potential than position need

  2. Why would they?? Today’s technology allows teams to work from their own offices including the draft. The only thing missing will be the “glitz and hollywood” that only the players thrive on any way.

  3. ” the question becomes whether fans will care as much about free agency if it happens next week, than if it happens later in the spring.”


    Show me one NFL team that cares about this and I’ll show you an NFL team that’s constantly losing games.

  4. ,,,typical owner mentality…why be proactive…its all about the Bejamins, my friends…

  5. Complaining for the sake of complaining. Give it up.

    The NFL already said they’re doing everything in consultation with the CDC, the World Health Organization and the NFL-NFLPA medical experts at Duke Infection Control Outreach Network Prograom (DICON) and will defer to their recommendations.

    Yet, instead of listening to the MEDICAL EXPERTS, we should do what sports writers think is best? Is that right?

  6. This whole thing is a complete joke. Thanks for ruining sports China. Just another reason to boycott that country.

  7. No reason to delay it, contracts can be emailed and e-signed. Stipulations can be placed in same that a physical must be passed after the signing of the contract and that could take place after the ‘threat’ of exposure, contamination is eliminated.

  8. This whole thing is a complete joke. Thanks for ruining sports China. Just another reason to boycott that country.


    We’re all in this together clown.

  9. Las Vegas can overcome losing the draft any other city would be a huge disappointment.

  10. Spare me the “media knows all” rhetoric.
    The media is profiting, massively, from all of the Chinese coronavirus hysteria.
    When the media shuts down, THAT will be breaking news!
    Trump rules!

  11. Why should they? There’s no games that need to be played, unlike other sports. Then in today’s technology advanced world you don’t need to have face to face meetings for free agency. You don’t need to see a player at a pro day, when there’s hundred of hours of film on them and the combine already being done. Then there’s no need to rush to make a decision for the draft because it’s still over a month away.

  12. In 10 to 15 years we’re all gonna look back on this and realize how ridiculous the hysteria, panic, and cancelations were.

  13. To quote a Def Leppard song and album title from 100 years ago, “Hysteria,when your near”. The near being anything the media latches onto and hammers into submission…

  14. Way back in 2010 H1N1/ Swine Flu was a Pandemic that came to America. 300,000 Americans were hospitalized. 17,000 died.
    Every year 15,000-27000 die of the Flu in the US.
    Why is this one such a big deal ?

  15. Phones and email/internet are still things last I checked, and if the conversation turns to cutting or signing FA then I imagine those will come in quite handy.

  16. The other side is if no sports teams are playing, free agency will br MORE focused on. All these sports radio hosts need something to talk about and free agency would have the full stage.

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