The NFL hasn’t delayed the start of the season yet, but the annual League Owner’s Meeting, which was scheduled for March 29-April 1 in Palm Beach, FL is canceled.
The League year actually begins Wednesday at 4 pm ET with the start of free agency. Now until the end of April is usually the most important time of the season when it comes to the “business of the NFL.”
HOW DOES CORONA VIRUS AFFECT NFL DRAFT (APRIL 23-25)?
The status of the NFL Draft, which is scheduled to be in Las Vegas in late April is still up in the air. Hundreds of thousands of people tend to congregate to this popular event.
According to NFL Insider Dan Graziano, “There will be a Draft, but the question is to what extent can they have a large public gathering? Obviously these events are being canceled because we don’t want large public gatherings. The League has to make a decision on this pretty quickly. They haven’t yet but it’s a fair assumption that the NFL will have to make some adjustments to how the draft is conducted.”
“There were 600,000 people in Nashville last year for the draft,” Graziano added. “It could be a situation where they do it like the old days before it was televised, or conference calling in the pick…There will be players elected by teams, but it will not be the huge show (it usually is).”
Fan events for the 2020 NFL Draft in Las Vegas will be cancelled, according to a Caesars insider. The league is discussing ways to hold the Draft without crowds.
— Las Vegas Locally 🌴 (@LasVegasLocally) March 12, 2020
Without the travel freedom that we have grown accustomed too along with uncertainty about when players can hold Pro Days, both essential elements of the draft process, the 2020 NFL Draft may be inevitably moved back.
EVALUATING POTENTIAL NFL DRAFT PICKS
Some NFL teams have pulled their scouts off the road, but each individual team is still making personal decisions on how to keep everyone safe.
“Once you realize that everybody is safe and sound you quickly pivot to thinking that from a competitive standpoint you don’t want to be at a disadvantage, “ added former Jets GM and ESPN Football Insider Mike Tannenbaum.
“You want to make sure that everyone is healthy and then from the point of draft preparation, you want to make sure you can get a plane to be able to go see the most significant draft prospects.”
“For instance, we saw Justin Herbert work out yesterday and if we are trying to compare Justin Herbert to Jordan Love, will we be able to catch a plane out to Utah to see Love?” Tannenbaum asked.
The Redskins and Bucs, Browns and Steelers have altered travel plans or canceled scout travel altogether. The top tier guys will be OK, but the fringe players or injured guys will not get a chance to show what they can do.
“These are still extremely consequential decisions for the next 10 years that you’re going to be held accountable for as a GM or scout… So while we are experiencing tough times right now, you still… as the leader of the franchise have to make sure that you’re doing everything you can within reason to make the best decisions.”
AFFECT COVID-19 HAS ON CBA, FREE AGENCY, FINANCIAL OPTICS
In addition to draft preparation, Saturday at midnite is when the players will vote up or down on the new Collective Bargaining Agreement and all of the vital issues that have been argued and discussed over the past months.
Monday (March 16) is the deadline for franchise tags, legal tampering begins at 12 noon and a few days later (March 18) in theory, players like Tom Brady and Philip Rivers can sign with other teams.
As of right now, according to NFL sources, that time table is still intact. All of these actions influence each other and the NFL is thinking about the optics involved in players signing huge multi-million dollar deals while the country is suffering from the coronavirus.