Earlier this month, Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady encouraged NFL players to negotiate directly with their coaches for changes to the offseason program. In Tampa Bay, those negotiations worked.
Via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, the Buccaneers agreed through such discussions to reduce the total number of Organized Team Activities to six.
The Bucs will still have a mandatory minicamp, from June 8 through 10. It’s possible that the team also has agreed to implement reduced intensity for all offseason practices. Multiple teams have agreed to eliminate 11-on-11 drills, for example, in order to persuade players to choose to participate.
Stroud also reports that coach Bruce Arians has offered to Brady the use of the team facility for player workouts without coaches present. To date, Brady has declined.
Brady and some teammates worked out on Monday at the Yankees’ spring-training facility, adjacent to the Buccaneers’ workplace. In theory, any injuries suffered by players off the premises would expose the players to not being paid in 2021. If the injury happens while working out with Brady, however, the chances of the Bucs giving the player the Ja'Wuan James treatment become slim to none.
Here’s the big picture: Although it appeared that the union’s push against voluntary drills was destined to fail, enough teams have made changes to the program to make the effort worth the time. And while James will pay for that effort with $10 million in lost salary, he knew or should have known based on his own circumstances that he should have been working out at the facility, if he was going to be working out at all.