The 2020 preseason looks like will be scrapped entirely as the NFL has offered the NFLPA to play zero exhibition contests this summer, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. This is a major step as both the owners and union try to hammer out each and every detail for what will be a very unique 2020 season as the league continues to deal with COVID-19 related issues.
It has been the NFLPA's stance from the start to play no preseason games and allow players more time in training camp to ramp up for the regular season, but the league had been reluctant to erase it entirely until now. Previously, the preseason was cut in half from four games just two. On Monday prior to this latest report, CBS Sports Jason La Canfora relayed that the NFL had sent a previous proposal to only have one preseason game. With this proposal now out there by the NFL, it's only a matter of time before the NFLPA accepts and we'll go straight from training camp into the regular season for 2020 with zero preseason matchups.
This was a topic of discussion the players and NFLPA felt very strongly about and it appears the NFL has listened and taken notice. This comes just hours after the NFL and NFLPA came to an agreement on daily testing for the first two weeks of training camp, the final major health and safety-related topic that was still needed to be hammered out. That was also another key area of concern amongst players, who publicly said as much on social media over the weekend. It appears like their voices have been heard by the league and the foundation of the 2020 season is being set as training camp is set to begin in a matter of days.
One potential impact of no preseason games, however, comes at the expense of undrafted free agents and even some Day 3 draft selections. These exhibitions are usually where the unknowns make a name for themselves and push for a roster spot. With those games out the window for 2020, it'll likely make things a bit more difficult to make the opening roster. One way the league is helping with that along with dealing with potential COVID-19 cases is that they are proposing to increase practices squads from 12 to 16 players to further expand the roster.
Along with offering zero preseason games, the NFL also offered an acclimation period from seven days to an 18-day ramp up, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. Player opt-outs with an August 1 deadline have also been offered previously by the league.
With these major issues now either in the rearview mirror or about to be, the NFL and NFLPA still need to come to an agreement on the financial part of these negotiations. In its latest proposal, the NFL reportedly suggested each team to cut player costs by $40 million in salary cap and/or other benefits in 2020. The NFLPA, meanwhile, has held the stance of not wanting the economic ramifications of the pending revenue loss due to the pandemic to hit players all in one year. Instead, they had suggested a flat salary cap for 2021 and then smaller hits against the cap over the next decade (2022-2030).
With the NFL leaning in favor of the NFLPA on certain aspects like the preseason, it'll be interesting to see if those simply ended up being concessions by the league in order to get the economic situation they prefer.