There has been speculation about the 2020 NFL Draft being pushed back to a later date due to the coronavirus pandemic currently delaying events all around the world. On Monday, the league put speculation to rest as it announced the draft will go on as scheduled which is April 23-25. However, there will be some changes, as the public events that will go on during draft weekend in Las Vegas have been canceled. Also, the NFL is looking at options for how the actual process will be conducted.
"This decision reflects our foremost priority – the health and safety of all fans and citizens," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. "While this outcome is disappointing both to the NFL and to the Las Vegas community, we look forward to partnering with the Raiders, the City of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for a future NFL Draft as well as evaluating opportunities for other major NFL events in Las Vegas in the future, including the Super Bowl."
The news of the draft comes on the heels of the league sending a memo to all 32 teams the league year will start on time which is Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET. ESPN obtained the memo and it also said the tampering period will start on Monday at noon.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reported the NFL wanted to move back the start of the league year, but the NFL Players Association "would not provide consent." The reason for it is the fact working on contracts did not require in-person meetings or travel. However, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said, the "NFL never sent a formal request to us to move the league year."
The NFL has made some changes due to the coronavirus pandemic. The annual meeting, which was set to take place March 29 through April 1, has been canceled and teams aren't allowed to have in-person, pre-draft visits with draft prospects.
Along with the draft and the start of the league year, the NFL players have voted on and approved a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement which will begin in 2021. The new CBA includes teams playing a 17-game schedule with only three preseason games and there will now be 14 teams in the playoffs instead of 12.