In his regular MMQB article on Monday morning, Sports Illustrated columnist Albert Breer said that the NFL is “floating” the idea of training camps opening in mid-July — rather than July 28, which would be the normal starting date based on the NFL’s recently-passed Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
BREER: The new CBA dictates that teams can report 47 days before their first regular season game (a change from the old 14-day rule), meaning the report date for most teams would be July 28. Meanwhile, the joint committee on health and safety is recommending an acclimation period before camp, given the lack of football activity these guys have had, of at least a week or two (and up to three). The good news is, the new CBA builds in a five-day acclimation period. The bad news is players may need more than that under these unique circumstances. So the league has floated the idea of an earlier report date closer to the middle of July, to give players a better chance to get their feet underneath them.
Breer’s reporting gets additional weight from reports like one from ESPN’s Mike Wells.
Report date for training camp for the Colts is TENTATIVELY scheduled for July 28.— Mike Wells (@MikeWellsNFL) June 8, 2020
Given the unique circumstances in which the league finds itself, this idea would make a lot of sense. Breer said that a league source has told him that “minicamps are dead.” This would be because there are simply are too many logistical hurdles to stage minicamps between June 26 — the end of the virtual offseason program the league negotiated with the NFL Players Association — and the beginning of training camp.
But it would be relatively easy for the NFL and NFLPA to simply agree to let training camp begin sooner. It’s unlikely the union would object too strongly to such a change, because it probably won’t want its members subjected to the rigors of training camp without an extended acclimatization period. This would allow teams to let their players ease into the routine — and also catch up on some of the on-field work they’ve missed during this one-of-a-kind offseason.
As we reported last week, it is presently believed that no teams will be allowed to conduct training camps outside of their team facilities — regardless of when it begins. This would affect 10 teams — including the Kansas City Chiefs — that typically travel to different locations for camp. But almost a week after that report, the NFL has not yet made the policy official, which suggests the possibility that some of those 10 teams could be lobbying the league to reconsider. Since training camp locations are not part of the CBA, that decision will be entirely up to the league.
So do we know when training camp will begin? No. Do we know for certain where it will take place? No. But the NFL and the NFLPA are working to figure it out.