The sports world continues to feel the impact of the spread of coronavirus. Sports like basketball and baseball have felt the brunt of it, but the NFL offseason isn’t immune either.
The new league year was set to begin this coming Wednesday, March 18. That rings in free agency, which will be an even bigger story, as other sports are sidelined. With stars like Tom Brady potentially switching teams, it is the most highly anticipated free agency period in some time. It may not happen as scheduled though.
There are increasing reports and suggestions that the start of the new league year may be pushed back. The NFL has already had to place restrictions on travel, as teams prep for the NFL Draft and host potential free agent signings. Given the strong likelihood that the virus is still spreading into April, we could see changes to the Draft as well, even if it remains booked for April 23-25. Las Vegas is set to host the NFL Draft as of now.
One of the league’s top coaches believes that the start of the league new year, and thus free agency, will be pushed back. New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton was interviewed, and revealed as much. “Most immediately, the start of our league year, which is due to be this Wednesday, free agency begins, that’s gonna be, I think, pushed back,” he said. Via TVG:
— TVG (@TVG) March 14, 2020
Payton also says he sees the NFL Draft format changing in some way as well. He believes these moves are the right one, especially as we learn more about the virus can spread even among the young, healthy, and asymptomatic.
The NFL has not yet acknowledged the possibility that it will change the schedule, but per Washington Post reporter Mark Maske, the NFL and NFLPA will discuss things tomorrow.
Once the CBA voting result is known, the NFL and NFLPA are expected to be in contact Sunday to determine the next steps for the offseason–whether or not to delay free agency and postpone teams' offseason programs for players.
— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) March 15, 2020
We should learn more soon enough.