There's still a lot for the NFL and NFLPA to hash out, and they don't have much time at all to do it. With dozens of players taking to social media in unison ahead of training camp to declare their apparent disgust with the lack of resolution regarding COVID-19 safety protocol -- including the likes of Russell Wilson, Drew Brees and J.J. Watt -- the league was loudly put on notice that although players want to play, they're willing to sit out if things aren't hashed out. While safety protocol, opt-out procedures and talks surrounding loss of revenue dominate the landscape, so does the preseason, the latter having already been slashed to just two games by the league.
That proposal required approval from the NFLPA though, who countered by unanimously shooting it down and NFL now proposing only a one-game preseason after initially attempting to push the two-game setup through, per CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora. The problem for the league is obvious, however, because although they've reduced their preseason ask to just a game, the NFLPA is holding firm at having none whatsoever in August -- per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network -- remaining dug in on the demand of a longer acclimation period than the NFL is offering.. It appears the two may be close to reaching a compromise on the matter, with the
What the league is offering, specifically, playing one game in the third week of the month, the contest annually dubbed as the "dress rehearsal." With an agreement not yet struck, discussions must go on as everyone works to come to terms on as many issues as possible, considering rookies are expected to report to camp for both the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs as early as Monday.
While there's mostly solidarity among players regarding the NFLPA's stance on the preseason, there does appear to be a crack in their armor. It seems not every player wants to sidestep every game in August, per Jeff Darlington of ESPN, who notes a contingent of bubble and fringe players actually hoping for at least one preseason game. That would make sense from their point of view, considering how important games in August are to those scratching and clawing for a roster spot.
And with proposals on the table that could reduce the number of players allowed in training camp, those who aren't locked into a seat want to do all they can to show teams what they're capable of. In a typical preseason, they'd have four and sometimes five games (if they're involved in the Hall of Fame Game) to prove themselves, but not in a 2020 offseason dominated by concerns over the again surging coronavirus.
Time will tell if the NFLPA meets the NFL in the middle and agrees to holding one game in August, but the clock is ticking -- loudly -- for that and several other key points to get hammered out.