The clock keeps ticking toward the start of training camp, if it’s indeed going to start on July 28. Aiding that process would be an agreement between the NFL and the NFL Players Association on all remaining issues. There are several.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the significant sticking points are listed below.
1. Testing: The NFLPA wants daily testing. The NFL continues to resist that approach. The source says that daily testing is a “big, big issue.”
2. Acclimation period: The NFLPA wants to gradually phase players in physically, given that there was no offseason program and limited opportunities for players to work out as they normally would. In 2011, when there was no offseason program due to the lockout, injuries spiked by 25 percent.
3. Preseason: The players want none, the NFL wants two. The players believe any preseason games present an enhanced physical risk by limiting the ability to gradually get players in shape. Preseason games also entail added risk of an outbreak that could derail the season, with limited financial gain given that no fans will be present for the game.
4. Emergency protocols: The two sides need to work out procedures that would be utilized in the event of an outbreak.
5. Opt outs: The rules regarding when and how a player would choose to not play this season remain unresolved.
6. Economics: The league has raised the idea of givebacks or escrow payments in order to defray expected financial losses. The players have not been receptive to any such reductions or limitations, given that if anything they have enhanced risk in 2020.
The league and the union are schedule to convene another bargaining session on Monday, with the goal of getting a final resolution by Wednesday or Thursday. Otherwise, the launch of training camp as scheduled will be in jeopardy.