As the NFL looks to trim the preseason in half, the NFLPA appears to want the number of preseason games to be cut even further.
Denver Broncos player representative Brandon McManus said in a tweet Wednesday evening to expect either one or zero preseason games to be played. The NFLPA has not signed off on the reduction in games from four to two as of yet and McManus’ statement indicates a desire for even fewer preseason games to be played.
However, the NFL doesn’t need the approval of the Players’ Association to implement the two-game preseason. According to Mark Maske of the Washington Post, the NFL is committed to the plan of playing two preseason games after making the decision to cut the schedule in half on Wednesday.
“It will be two (games),” a person familiar with the planning told the newspaper.
The loss of two preseason games will make it harder for back-end roster players to make teams in training camp as there will be fewer game opportunities for players to stand out. However, the loss of games will also give the teams two more weeks – if camps go off as scheduled – without playing games to get up to speed after not spending any time together on a field this offseason.
Much like baseball just went through as they had a labor disagreement over how to get their season started, the NFL could see similar issues such as the length of the preseason, and health and safety protocols becoming points of contention. While the NFL doesn’t need the NFLPA’s approval to set the preseason length, they could use the prospect of fewer games as a bargaining chip for other areas of discussion.
For now, the NFL appears set on sticking firm with the decision that it will be two preseason games.