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Report: NFLPA to Propose Major Change to OTAs, Offseason Calendar

The NFLPA is set to propose a major change to the NFL offseason calendar, moving OTAs to the summer ahead of training camp.

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NFLPA Pittsburgh Steelers OTAs
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Calvin Austin catches a pass during OTAs at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on May 22, 2024. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The NFLPA is pushing for a plan that would move OTAs from the spring to just before training camp, according to a report by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

OTAs, which are the third and final phase of the NFL voluntary offseason workout program, are happening around the NFL right now, with the Pittsburgh Steelers set to get back together at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side on Tuesday for their second week of spring drills.

The three-week program leads into mandatory minicamp, which will occur the second week of June. After that, the players and coaches will have five weeks off before the start of training camp at St. Vincent college in late July.

The new proposal, which has been in the works for several years, would move OTAs and minicamp immediately adjacent to the start of training camp, giving teams and players one consistent build-up to the start of the season, instead of the start-and-stop approach currently implemented.

OTAs are non-contact, but do allow team drills in 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 formats. The earlier portions of the voluntary offseason program, which started on April 15, do not permit team-wide practices. Some players choose to skip all or part of the voluntary portions of the offseason program. Steelers NFLPA rep Cam Heyward is skipping OTAs this year while seeking a contract extension.

Steelers NFLPA Cam Heyward OTAs

Pittsburgh Steelers NFLPA player rep Cam Heyward during OTAs on May 23, 2023. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

When teams get back together for training camp, the first few practices are similar in tenor to OTAs before teams can go to full live periods with pads after the first week. The change would provide a linear ramp-up, from just strength and conditioning and meetings, to individual drills, to non-contact practices, to full-contact practices, without a gap in between.

A majority of the NFLPA players support the change, and the union is expected to submit a formal proposal this summer, per NFL Network. The dates of offseason programs are including the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and NFLPA, and the league’s owners would have to approve any changes.

The NFL and NFLPA went without OTAs during the pandemic-impacted 2020 season. Spring workouts have long been a part of the NFL and college football landscapes.