New information regarding how the NFL might conduct the 2021 offseason emerged on Wednesday morning, courtesy of ESPN’s Chris Mortensen in a series of tweets from his official Twitter account.
Sources: NFLPA executive board and NFL Management Council have started negotiations on two fronts:— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) March 24, 2021
1. The players want to repeat 2020 model of an entirely virtual off-season while owners want to return to the previous norms that include OTAs and minicamps at team facilities.
3. As to the immediate 2021 off-season, union wants daily COVID-19 testing if owners demand players to conduct OTAs on team sites.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) March 24, 2021
NFLPA expects that training camps can be conducted w/o daily testing, believing majority of players will have been vaccinated by then.
According to Mortensen, the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) would like to see a repeat of the 2020 offseason, in which meetings and installs were completely virtual. Remember, that meant rather than having an in-person rookie minicamp, three weeks of voluntary organized team activities (OTAs) and a three-day mandatory minicamp, the players and coaches would get together via video conference remotely.
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid managed last year, but there is no doubt an advantage to one of the better offensive minds in the game getting the players in earlier. If owners (and by extension — their coaches) do get their way on that front, the players want daily coronavirus testing to continue to ensure safety. That seems reasonable.
Mortensen also noted that the league plans to shift to a 17-game schedule in 2021 (with three preseason games). With that being the case, the players would like to get back to the table to discuss in-season and offseason work rules. Original reports noted that the league wasn’t planning on an additional bye week despite another full game, an example of something the players might want to discuss.