On a conference call with agents Monday, the NFLPA highlighted safety and financial ramifications stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The call included NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, president J.C. Tretter and medical director Thom Mayer.
According to multiple reports, the union revealed today that players could be tested every three days once they are able to fully return to team facilities. The players who inevitably test positive would be isolated.
“You can’t fit the virus into football, you have to fit football into the virus. This is a badass virus,” Mayer said.
During the NFLPA's call with agents today, NFLPA medical director Thom Mayer said that players, upon return, should expect to be tested every 3 days.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) June 15, 2020
Mayer to the agents: "You can't fit the virus into football, you have to fit football into the virus. This is a badass virus."
The NFLPA’s expectation contradicts protocols laid out by the league in a memo to clubs last week, which said that COVID-19 tests would be conducted daily upon entering the facility.
Mayer also said that there is a 90% chance that reliable saliva tests will be readily available by the time players eventually return to team facilities.
With regards to the salary cap implications of the pandemic, the union informed agents that the league could lose $3 billion in revenue if games are played without fans in 2020.
NFLPA told agents that playing w/o fans in attendance would result in ~$3 billion in revenue losses. DeMaurice Smith reminded them of the force majeure clause in the CBA, and that thru it the players have the right to negotiate cap implications.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) June 15, 2020
i.e. spreading losses over years.
Luckily for the owners and players, the CBA contains a good faith clause that will allow the two sides to enter negotiations with regards to revenue and the salary cap.
One way that the league could tackle any salary cap reductions would be by borrowing from future years where revenue is expected to be stable and growing. Factors such as the 17-game season, new television deals and gambling ventures are reasons for optimism that the cap will grow significantly over the coming years.
In addition, executive director Smith expressed that the union will finalize their own set of protocols over the next thirty days, prior to players making their eventual return.
With minicamps cancelled through the end of June, it appears the league and NFLPA are planning to be full-go in time for the start of training camps at the end of July.
NFL Considering Making Roughing the Passer Reviewable
The NFL is considering making roughing the passer calls subject to replay review, according to NFL.com’s Judy Battista.
Battista reports that owners are expected to vote on the potential rule change at the annual league meetings later this month.
There is no denying that roughing the passer calls have become increasingly questionable over recent years, as the league continues to emphasize the protection of its most valuable assets – the quarterbacks.
Still, the concept does conjure painful memories of 2019, when the league tried reviewing pass interference calls. The experiment proved to be an unmitigated disaster, and was scrapped after a single season.
While the new role could remedy some of the infuriating calls the Pittsburgh Steelers defense has been levied with in recent year, the chance could also open up an unintended can of worms.
Reviewing roughing the passer calls is not the only potential rule change the owner will reportedly consider.
According to Battista, owners will also discuss switching overtime back to sudden death, creating an alternative to the onside kick and voting on a rule reportedly proposed by the Buffalo Bills to delay coaching and general manager interviews until the conference championship round.
NFL Insider John Clayton Predicts Steelers Could Cut Joe Haden, Vince Williams
John Clayton, one of the longest tenured NFL Insiders, offered a prediction on how the Steelers will handle their roster in the coming weeks during his weekly appearance on 93.7 The Fan.
When referring to player cuts around the NFL, Clayton said he expects many notable players to be released by their current teams. Clayton proclaimed “it will be a bloodbath around the league” and that could include a couple key veterans being handed their walking papers by the Steelers.
— Andrew Fillipponi (@ThePoniExpress) March 3, 2021
Joe Haden and Vince Williams could both be forced to find new teams as soon as next week, according to Clayton. Haden has spent the past 4 seasons in Pittsburgh after spending his first 7 years with the Browns. Williams has played his entire 8-year NFL career with the Steelers after being drafted in the 6th round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
J.J. Watt Explains Cardinals Signing on Adam Schefter’s Podcast
Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt joined The Adam Schefter Podcast on to discuss his decision to sign with the NFC West’s Arizona Cardinals.
While he had numerous suitors across the league, Watt says he was drawn to Arizona by the promise of young quarterback Kyler Murray and his familiarity with defensive coordinator Vance Joseph.
“All the signs pointed there,” Watt said. “There’s a ton of exciting young talent here. In this league you need a quarterback to have a chance, and they’ve got a very talented young quarterback, who can continue to take the next step. Defense, I’m very familiar with Vance Joseph, who was with me down in Houston with Wade Philips early in my career.”
Watt believes the Cardinals are a team on the cusp of greatness, and that he is the piece to finally put them over the top.
“I think it’s just a team ready to grow and take that next step,” Watt added. “You look at the last three years, they’ve continued to increase win totals every year and are on that trajectory. And I’m looking to help fast track that trajectory.”
Schefter also asked Watt if it was ever realistic he would join his brothers T.J. and Derek with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The star defensive end demonstrated his elusiveness, avoiding addressing the idea head on.
“There was a lot of thought given to every single scenario,” he said. “So we could really sit down and look through all the options and speak with all the teams and gather all the information we possibly could. And there were definitely a lot of great options, there were a lot of opportunities to play. But at the end of the day, I’m very, very excited to be here in Arizona.”
The Cardinals now boast one of the league’s top pass-rushing tandems, pairing Watt alongside elite edge rusher Chandler Jones, who has 97 career sacks.
Arizona had the fourth-most sacks in football last season before Watt’s arrival with 48.
Watt exits Houston as one of the greatest players in franchise history. He was selected to five Pro Bowls, named First-Team All-Pro on five occasions and earned three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards.
A future Hall of Famer, Watt is the Texans’ all-time leader in sacks (101), tackles-for-loss (172) and forced fumbles (25).
Watt recorded 52 total tackles, 14 tackles-for-loss, five sacks, two forced fumbles and returned an interception for a touchdown last season.