The NFLPA said Friday that after meeting its executive committee “voted unanimously to recommend the proposed changes to the CBA.” According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo and Tom Pelissero, that deal would mean players would not see any reduction in salary during the upcoming season, and any revenue shortfalls would be spread out over four years starting in 2021.
Players are supposed to report to training camp next Tuesday, but if the players and the league don't agree to deal by then owners could shut down training camps and send players home, according to a report in The Washington Post.
The NFLPA did not respond to a request for comment Friday.
The final discussions about the economics of a coronavirus-era football season come after the NFL and NFLPA agreed on safety and testing protocols this week. According to a memo sent to all 32 NFL teams and posted on Twitter by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, players must have two negative tests at least 72 hours apart before they can enter team facilities.
After the initial testing, players will undergo daily testing for two weeks and then will move to every-other-day testing as long as the positivity rate stays under 5 percent.
“Our union has been pushing for the strongest testing, tracing and treatment protocols to keep our players safe,” the NFLPA said in a statement. “The testing protocols we agreed to are one critical factor that will help us return to work safely and gives us the best chance to play and finish the season.”
Though the testing will be crucial, NFL players, coaches and fans will have to change their behavior in a variety of other ways to ensure the season happens.
"While everyone shares risk in this environment, everybody's going to have to share responsibility, both when they're at the team facility and when they're away from the team facility, to make decisions and model those behaviors that are related to risk-mitigation," Dr. Allen Sills, the league's chief medical officer, told ESPN. "We won't be able to test our way to safety. The way we conduct ourselves away from the facility, all of those things are going to be really important as we move forward into the season."
It’s not just COVIC-19 that the NFL is worried about, but also a higher risk of injuries in general after returning to the field following an unusually long break.
“For example, following the extended break after the 2011 lockout, injuries increased by 25%. Achilles injuries more than doubled and hamstring strains went up 44%,” NFLPA president JC Tretter wrote.
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported this week that the preseason has already been canceled, but the regular season is still set to kick off on Sept.10 barring any setbacks.