NFL Teams to Conduct Virtual Offseason Program Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

It's April, and that means NFL teams can begin their offseason workouts. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, all team facilities are closed, which means players will have to work out from home. As a result of what's going on with COVID-19, the NFL and NFLPLA finalized a deal when teams can have a "virtual" offseason program according to Dan Graziano of ESPN.

"The rules for 'virtual' offseason programs state that no NFL team is required to participate in the 'Virtual Period,' which is defined as running from April 20 to May 15, and that a team may conduct classroom work online even if it doesn't assign its players specific workouts," Graziano wrote. "If a team decides to hold an offseason program, its players would receive their customary per diem payments just as if they were there in person ($235 minimum per day) and would be entitled to receive any offseason workout bonuses specified in their contracts, provided they fulfill the participation requirements their contracts specify."

Graziano also wrote if a team doesn't want to take part in the "virtual period," then it will not be permitted to conduct an offseason workout program after that period ends. Every team will have six weeks worth of offseason program time before the start of training camp. Teams that are conducting virtual workouts will be allowed to contact players, and the players will be sent equipment needed to get their workouts done.

In early June, teams normally conduct mandatory minicamps. If the team facilities are still closed by that time, teams can have the minicamp workouts virtually. However, online classroom work can't exceed two hours, and the virtual workouts also can't go past two hours.

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In the meantime, teams are getting ready for the NFL Draft, which will begin on Thursday, April 23. Like the offseason workouts, the draft will be virtual, and league commissioner Roger Goodell shared details of the draft to all 32 teams.

"Because of these circumstances, Clubs have been advised to prepare to conduct the 2020 Draft entirely outside of their facilities and in a fully virtual format, with club personnel in separate locations and able to communicate with one another and Draft headquarters by phone or internet," Goodell said in the memo. "We have reviewed this matter in the past few days with the Competition Committee and CEC, and this will confirm that Clubs will conduct their Draft operations remotely, with club personnel located separately in their homes."