The NFL is scheduled to kick off the league year Wednesday with the start of the free-agency signing period. Many team officials had been skeptical that that was going to happen because of the coronavirus pandemic. But the league sent a memo to all 32 teams Sunday confirming that Wednesday is a go.
The NFL’s legal tampering window, which allows teams to begin negotiating contracts with representatives of free agents, opens at noon on Monday. If the league was going to postpone the start of free agency, it would have needed to do so by then.
Former Eagles president Joe Banner agrees with the league’s decision not to postpone the start of free agency.
“I’m just basing it on the fact that I think it’s likely that things [with the pandemic] are going to get a lot worse before they get better,’’ Banner said. “Now, does that mean this is going to last for 30 days or six months? Who knows? But this may be the best window to try and do it.’’
The NFL draft is scheduled for April 23-25 in Las Vegas. The league has not made any decision yet on whether it will go on as scheduled.
Many NFL teams have banned their coaches and executives from traveling during the coronavirus outbreak. College pro days have been canceled and teams won’t be bringing in draft prospects for visits.
As for free agency, players could agree to deals with teams remotely, pending the passing of a physical once it’s safe to travel again.
“I don’t think the decision should be based on optics,’’ Banner said. “For me, most places that are able to continue to do business right now, they’re trying to do it in a way that doesn’t bring too many people together. The NFL could clearly do free agency doing that.