Washington cancels free-agent workouts, as it assesses its processes

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The Washington Football Team needs, like all teams do, additional football players. For now, the Washington Football Team has decided to press pause on all free-agent workouts, due to the pandemic.

PFT has confirmed that the franchise has canceled a free-agent workout that had been set for Monday. The workout would have involved several players.

Ben Standig of TheAthletic.com first reported the cancellation of the workout. Although Standig suggests that it’s an isolated occurrence, a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that the franchise is taking a step back and assessing its processes going forward. This implies that it could be more than a one-time thing.

Per the source, Washington also hopes other teams will follow its lead. “Bringing in all these guys off the street from all over the country is so risky,” the source said.

The move underscores the reality that the NFL suggested before the season began the creation of a COVID Academy, featuring 100 free agents who would be isolated, tested, and kept in shape. This would remove the risk of strangers to the organization who could show up, slip through the cracks of testing during the incubation period, and then shed virus before inevitably testing positive. The NFL and the NFL Players Association were unable to strike a deal that would have created this pool of workout-ready talent.

Maybe, given the current state of the pandemic and the NFL’s delayed reckoning when it comes to the challenges of keeping the virus out of locker rooms, it’s time to revisit the possibility of a COVID Academy. Along with other potential changes aimed at getting all 256 games played this year — up to and including a team-by-team bubble.

Indeed, if enough teams shut down free-agency workouts, the union will have no choice but to agree to a COVID Academy.