The NFL has decided to continue with business as usual, at least in terms of the start of a new league year, in the face of coronavirus concerns.
The National Football League has to be thankful that, unlike other major sports in America, they can move forward with a major part of their offseason with the start of a new league year, even in the face of coronavirus concerns and measures taken.
Due to the dangers of spreading the coronavirus (technically known as SARS-CoV-2), the National Basketball Association is reportedly looking at the middle of June as the first time players might return to play. The National Hockey League is looking at, at least, mid-May at this stage. Meanwhile Major League Baseball has delayed opening day by two weeks already, and that feels likely to be extended.
The NFL is in the midst of a long offseason, which allows the sport to attend to typical offseason business as usual, at least in some respects, with the start of a new league year coming this week. That means other important timelines and facets of the NFL offseason are also in place.
On Monday, teams can begin negotiating with pending free agents to be at 12:00 p.m. E.T. That also happens to be the same time that teams can no longer apply a tag of any kind to a player (e.g. the franchise tag the Chiefs applied to Chris Jones).
On Wednesday, the new league year begins which means the typical free agent frenzy will be underway for players and teams. For many sports fans, the idea of the NFL offseason moving forward as planned is a much-needed distraction from concerns about the coronavirus. As other sports retreat, the NFL is in a fortunate position to move forward, at least in some ways, to allow fans to feel a sense of normalcy.
Unfortunately the NFL isn’t immune to the need for some measures to be taken. The NFL Draft will likely be postponed indefinitely and the league meetings scheduled for owners every spring has been cancelled as well. For now, free agency will proceed as planned with more details to come.