There have been multiple reports that the NFL owners have reduced their earlier desire to have a shortened off-season of two preseason games, and that, on Monday, they agreed to the NFLPA position of cancelling the pre-season altogether.
NFL offered the NFLPA today to play zero preseason games this summer, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 20, 2020
On a day when there have been a number of reports of substantial progress being made between owners and the union, perhaps the movement on the preseason schedule will garner the most attention.
The elimination of preseason games will almost certainly have the biggest affect on the least experienced players. Late round draft picks and undrafted college free agents will find it harder to muscle their way onto NFL opening day rosters, though many of them will likely get other chances with expanded practice squads and the potential for COVID-19 to drive more week-to-week roster change this season.
However, even veteran free agents who were likely to be competing for backup or special teams roles could find it harder to make a roster, but those players will at least have experience with the game-day routines in the NFL — something that rookies will not have a chance to run through prior to opening day games this year.
Still, most commenters on Twitter seem to be taking the news in stride.
My 1st/2nd year self would be stressed to the max.— Will Compton (@_willcompton) July 20, 2020
Would’ve called my parents, “welp...for sure getting cut”
My vet self would be/is stoked https://t.co/gmrx8VmSyx
The roster stuff will sort itself out, and many of the guys who get cut will probably re-emerge at some point, but not doing a dry run on game-day procedures seems like a mistake. https://t.co/npo4aDCrUG— michael phillips (@michaelpRTD) July 20, 2020
As an owner told me last week when I asked if they needed one game for roster evaluation and game day run through: “We can manage.” https://t.co/IQKfI1VQWU— Judy Battista (@judybattista) July 20, 2020
The rapid progress in talks appears to be fueled by the owners making a lot of concessions, which seems unusual given the history of the NFL’s negotiations with the players union, but that may be deceiving. Late reports are that the only remaining issues on the table are financial, and, as one person observed, “trading a little more player safety for a lot of money is a very NFL-NFLPA negotiations thing to do”.
All this movement from the teams on the on-field stuff means there’s been lots of progress on the financials. Owners were willing to move on the preseason games if the players worked toward getting the money done. https://t.co/jR251yX2aL— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) July 20, 2020
It's mostly the economic issues that now separate the NFL and NFLPA: how to deal with a potential drop in revenues this season, in terms of how that would affect the 2021 salary cap. But the timing of when the economic issues will be resolved remains unclear.— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) July 21, 2020