The NFL Players Association on Tuesday told its players there will be zero preseason games in 2020, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, Tom Pelissero and NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.
Union leadership shared this information with its players during a conference call one day after the league proposed a one-game preseason slate to the union, then followed that up later Monday with an adjusted offer that included zero preseason games. The NFL and NFLPA previously had been split on a preseason slate, with the league sticking to a desire to play half of a typical four-game preseason schedule before acquiescing this week.
The NFLPA also told its membership it is still pushing for a longer ramp-up period for players to physically acclimate to the training-camp demands of professional football, and it expects rosters to stand at 80 players per team. The NFL has not yet signed off on an 80-man roster for training camp, per Pelissero, and though there was a discussion on giving teams an option to divide the roster (i.e., 80 active and 10 on standby), the union told players it wanted all teams to follow one rule.
The union said it has a general agreement with the league on voluntary and high-risk opt-out possibilities, and another general agreement on a compensatory stipend in the event games are lost due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The main economics still need to be hashed out between the two sides, and the details for the general agreements also need to be finalized, but the two sides have agreed on the concept.
Players took to social media over the weekend to publicly push the NFL to more seriously consider their desires in discussions on health and safety protocols, which included the wish to complete the month of August without any preseason games. With that seemingly all but guaranteed, the two sides can move onto the next set of matters as they aim to establish a foundation for operations in this unprecedented time.