You’ve patiently waited for the new league year since the last playing season ended. And it has arrived, as of 4:00 p.m. ET.
And it means, well, not much.
Apart from the fact that free agency actually begins when the tampering window opens, the realties of the league’s COVID-19 rules will keep things from happening all that quickly.
On Tuesday, the NFL advised all teams that clubs may not announce that deals have been reached with a given player, subject to the player passing a physical. The deals can’t be announced until executed, and any deal hinging on a player passing a physical can’t be executed unless and until the player undergoes a physical via the league’s COVID-19 protocol that prevents the player from visiting the team’s facility and prevents team doctors from visiting the player but allows for the player to be examined by a neutral physician who is in the same geographic area as the player.
Trades likewise won’t be final until the player passes a physical, and the same procedures apply. (However, announcements of deals apparently can occur.)
So while the new league year has arrived, don’t fire off the confetti or uncork the champagne. The wave of formal announcements, written statements, and press conferences that usually happens once the new league year begins won’t happen. Instead, it likely will be a slower, more gradual process as physicals are performed in a more deliberate manner than usual.
Even then, forget about press conferences until team facilities open again.