The NFL has decided to cut the preseason in half. NFL Media reports that the NFL Players Association has yet to sign off on this. Which makes sense, because the NFLPA hasn’t signed off on anything, including the league’s protocol for facility and locker-room virus safety.
The NFLPA doesn’t have to sign off on the length of the preseason, however. The 2020 labor deal states only that the league may, in a season with 16 regular-season games, hold no more than four preseason games. If the NFL wants to cut the preseason from four to two, it can.
The broader point is that everything currently is on the table, as the NFL and NFLPA continue to hash out the details for training camp, the preseason, and the regular season. The NFLPA has the ability to push for no preseason games; the NFL would want some other concession for that.
Basically, only a few months after labor and management worked out a comprehensive labor deal that covers the next 11 years, they’ll be back at the table, hammering out an agreement that will cover all procedures and protocols for 2020, including the number of preseason games, the possibility of game-day travel, adjustments if any to the salary cap and player salaries, a player’s ability to opt out, and many, many more. The agreement also may spill into 2021 and beyond, with salary-cap ramifications arising from the pandemic being handled now, not later.
As NFLPA president JC Tretter has said, every question leads to an answer that gives rise to three more questions. And the NFL and NFLPA currently are trying to resolve all of these issues with the clock pounding toward the launch of training camp.