UPDATE: Pro Football Talk reports the NFL is “contemplating the possibility of announcing on Sunday a delay in the start of free agency.”
ORIGINAL STORY BELOW.
The NFL has “no plans to move the start of the league year” despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, per NFL insider Adam Schefter. NFL free agency is currently set to begin in less than a week at 4:00 PM Eastern on Wednesday, March 18.
It remains to be seen if the NFL will maintain this stance as other major sports leagues (NBA, MLS, NLL) and events are being suspended/postponed/cancelled around the United States.
Some NFL teams have already begun to take action as it relates to COVID-19. We learned on Wednesday that the Philadelphia Eagles are pulling their coaching staff from the pro day circuit. Other teams around the league are not only following suit but also preventing their scouting staff from traveling.
Schefter note multiple teams are discussing shutting down their training facilities entirely.
If NFL teams in fact shut down their training facilities, as many are now discussing, then it would be challenging at best to start the new league year next week, when buildings are closed and more pressing issues face their communities and this country. https://t.co/ReXxk5CZdH— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 12, 2020
In addition to this news, the Washington football team became the first club to announce they’re cancelling their 30 official visits ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft. Several agents, meanwhile, are pulling their clients from scheduled visits with other teams who haven’t already cancelled on their end.
To be honest, it feels strange that the NFL plans to start on start the new league year as scheduled. Look, I’m excited for free agency and trades and whatnot like the rest of us. But those things don’t really matter most right now. There are bigger priorities to consider, like everyone’s health and safety.
We’ll soon see if the league changes course.
expect an announcement shortly from the NFL clarifying the future of the upcoming League meetings and perhaps the draft. I'm hearing from Team sources that the meetings set for two weeks in West Palm Beach will not take place as scheduled— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 12, 2020