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NFL Draft

Most Important NFL Stories Of The Week

  • The Draft Network
  • July 25, 2020
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We’re here. We have football.

In what’s obviously the most important NFL story of the week, players have approved the NFL’s plan to return to play. There will be more on this below and a number of other stories that have surfaced throughout the week. League-wide news will continue to be collected here at The Draft Network, week in and week out, in an effort to make it more digestible and provide—hopefully—thoughtful analysis.

Now that we can move forward with training camp, here’s a look at the most important stories of the week:

NFL, NFLPA agreed to terms a revised CBA

After a week of seemingly intense discussions, the NFL and NFL Players Association (NFLPA) agreed to the league’s plan to start play. In the deal to amend the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) were a number of COVID-19 adjustments including:

  • 16-player practice squads
  • High-risk and general opt-outs due to the pandemic
  • No 2020 preseason, as previously reported

Training camp will begin as scheduled on July 28 when veteran players report and will consist of a 20-day ramp-up period with a maximum of 14 padded practices, according to NFL media. Reports continued to surface about the details of the CBA which now includes two different types of opt-outs, due seven days from the deal being finalized. Both will have a stipend or advance with high-risk players receiving a $35,000 stipend; the high-risk status will go to any player that meets the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s list of underlying medical conditions with the exception of a high body mass index. There will be a $150,000 salary advance for players who voluntarily miss the season.

In the passing week, the NFL has been overly concerned with the bottom line. In the amended CBA, the league will spread the impact of any lost 2020 revenue over four years starting in 2021. Teams will also have a salary-cap figure to work with: at least $175 million in 2021 and the 2020 cap ($198.2 million) remains unchanged. This will give organizations a base-line, and if the revenue shortfalls aren’t as significant, 2021’s salary cap will increase. 

Despite the passing vote, there still remains some uncertainty about how the NFL is going to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus even with daily testing. One player, who spoke anonymously to NFL insider Josina Anderson said, “Our regulations won’t suffice totally for COVID. We're still stabbing in the dark but I think we did our best with the knowledge we have. It'll either be totally fine or total chaos. Nobody was willing to be quarantined from their families for an entire season.”

NFL makes masks mandatory for fans

There has been consistent talk on how the NFL can, will, or should accommodate fans. Some teams, including the New York Jets and Giants, have already mandated there won’t be fans at home games “until further notice.” However, in an effort to not lose the game-day revenue, the league is taking a different approach—for now.

The NFL confirmed that face masks will be required at all NFL games permitting fans this season. This is seemingly the biggest news that will come from the league regarding attendance unless it makes a determination at a later date that there won’t be a season. The NFL plans to leave decisions regarding fan attendance up to local mandates within each market, according to an ESPN report.

No other teams, besides New York’s, have decided they wouldn’t allow fans in their stadiums, but Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis is leaning toward that decision and many teams have said it would limit capacity and have strict social distancing policies. There’s one big problem with this—and it’s similar to how the league will stop the spread of coronavirus outside of team facilities—how can teams ensure fans will even adhere to these policies. Monitoring a stadium at half capacity seems like an impossible feat.

Washington football team gets rebranded

The Washington football team will be known as just that until they adopt a new name. After the team made the long-awaited decision to discontinue using a racial slur and change the mascot, Washington revealed its temporary rebrand.

“The decision to use ‘Washington Football Team’ for this season allows the franchise the ability to undertake an in-depth branding process to properly include player, alumni, fan, community, and sponsor input,” the team’s statement read.

It was met with some resolve and also a fair share of criticism that it took this long for the team to come up with a name that had been used, at the minimum, for the last couple of weeks. The rollout continued late into the week with new social media handles and branding, a detailed description of its concept, and several jersey mocks that were shared by players.

The jerseys will have “Washington” stitched at the top and gold numbers will replace the retired logo on the helmet. The team also announced it will be removing all previous branding from team properties.

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