The Kansas City Chiefs — along with the Houston Texans, the team they are scheduled to face to open the NFL season on Thursday, September 10 — are still scheduled to open their training camps on Saturday, July 25. According the Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, the team will have their rookie players report to camp one week earlier — that is, this coming Saturday.
But whether that will actually happen remains open to question, as noted by ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter on Monday.
Chiefs and Texans rookies are scheduled to report to camp Saturday. All players must take COVID-19 tests 48 hours in advance. Yet there has been no clearance yet from the NFL and both teams, like the 30 others, are awaiting word from the league about how to proceed, per sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 13, 2020
Back on July 3, the league released protocols for how teams will handle issues related to the coronavirus pandemic during training camp and the preseason. But many of the procedures outlined in that document remain in dispute as negotiations continue between the league and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA).
Even the number of preseason games that will be played remains in doubt. On July 1, the league announced that the first and fourth game on each team’s preseason schedule would be cancelled — although that would leave some teams (including the Chiefs) with only road or home games. We expected that issue to be resolved within days — but then the NFLPA stepped in, saying that no exhibition games should be played. Two weeks later, that issue remains unresolved.
Since then, other issues between the league and the union have surfaced. A week ago, the league proposed holding 35% of player salaries for the coming season in escrow — which the union immediately opposed. Over the weekend, the NFLPA made a counterproposal that would give players full salaries in 2020, an unchanged salary cap in 2021 (that is, the same 198.2 million under which the league is operating this season) and full payment of guaranteed money even if games are cancelled.
Representatives from the league and the NFLPA conducted a conference call to discuss these subjects on Monday. Another is scheduled for Tuesday — and another will specifically address health and safety concerns for players and coaches.
The bottom line is that a lot of these issues are still up in the air — and some of them are big ones. It’s hard to see how they can be settled before training camp officially begins — much less before rookies are scheduled to report this Saturday.
We’ll keep you posted.