The NFL and NFLPA could be on the cusp of a major labor dispute, as the two sides continue to negotiate whether the 2021 offseason program will be held in-person or virtually for the second-straight year.
According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, NFLPA President and Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter informed players on a call Friday the union will push for the offseason programs to be entirely virtual.
In addition, the union would reportedly urge players to boycott if clubs opt for in-person OTAs.
“We’ve been telling them, it’s voluntary and we’re not gonna go,” Tretter said via Pelissero.
NFLPA President JC Tretter told players on a call today the union is pushing for an all-virtual offseason — and would urge players to boycott if teams conduct in-person OTAs this spring, per sources.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 9, 2021
Said Tretter: “We’ve been telling them, it’s voluntary and we’re not gonna go.”
The NFL released COVID-19 guidelines for the upcoming offseason on March 31, and instructed clubs to begin preparing for in-person workouts.
According to a report by Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio on March 28, the NFLPA is primarily pushing for a virtual offseason for two main reasons.
First, they are following the advice of medical experts, as the union feels it is the safest and smartest course of action amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Second, in-person workouts could provide an opportunity for young, unproven players to impress and replace more expensive veterans who chose not to participate.
The NFLPA, which is lead by veteran players, does not want to see higher-paid individuals cut for cheaper options.
According to Pelissero, only 300 players league-wide have workout bonuses at stake for missing OTAs.
The current CBA states that the first mandatory program prior to the season is June minicamps. The NFLPA is lobbying for those to be virtual as well.
Only about 300 of 2,500 players have workout bonuses they’d lose if they skip OTAs. Under the CBA, the lone mandatory work prior to training camp is a June minicamp, which the union also wants to be virtual this year amidst the ongoing COVID pandemic. Talks with owners continue.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 9, 2021