- NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero says the league is hopeful that attendance could be back to normal for the 2021 season as the pace of vaccinations increases. Dr. Anthony Fauci previously expressed some optimism that after late summer, stadiums would be able to be filled to capacity.
- The NFL cannot require players to be vaccinated as that would be a change in working conditions that would need to be collectively bargained, per Pelissero. He also notes that a relatively small percentage followed the guidance to get a flu shot this past season.
- NFLPA director DeMaurice Smith said there’s not a “rosy outlook” for anything other than virtual OTAs again this offseason. There’s some support for rules instituted this year to continue, like expanded practice squads, the training camp ramp-up period and virtual training, that will be collectively bargained.
- That impact will extend to free agency and the draft, with Pelissero saying there are expectations for the bottom to fall out of the market after the first wave of free agency. The draft process will also be unique with no Combine and limited pre-draft contact in person between prospects and teams.
- Smith is also not optimistic about that timeline for vaccinations: “To think that we are going to be in a vaccine-neutral state in September is probably not the case.” (Mark Maske)
- Smith weighed in on the 2021 salary cap, which will be lower than last year’s, the question is just by how much: “We’ve just started to look at the reporting packages. … We have a $175 million floor. Will we be above the floor? I think there’s a decent chance we’ll be above the floor.” (Breer)
- In a press conference before the Super Bowl, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suggested the virtual offseason instituted last year could be here to stay: “Virtual is going to be a part of our life in the long-term.” (Breer)
- The NFL plans as of now to try and resume playing international games next season: “We’ll stay in close contact with our partners in the UK and Mexico.” (Aaron Wilson)
- Goodell also mentioned delaying the head coach hiring process until after the Super Bowl is a consideration to help improve diverse hiring. (Maske)
- While the NFL has the right to implement a 17th game to the regular season this coming year, Goodell didn’t commit to it: “Even though we have the option we’re going to continue to talk about this.” (Dave Birkett)
- Goodell said he doesn’t know how close to normal the 2021 season is going to be: “I wish I knew the answer to that. We’ve learned to try not to project too much in advance… I don’t know when normal will occur. I know this, we’ve learned to operate in a difficult environment and we’ll do it again.” (Ian Rapoport)
- Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline thinks Alabama QB Mac Jones boosted his stock and will be a first-round selection this coming April, though in the back half of the round.
Former Ravens RB Mark Ingram was clearly pushed to the back burner toward the end of his time in Baltimore as the team decided to go with younger options. Ingram called the process “difficult” but added he’s “excited about the opportunities I have” now that he’s a free agent following the Ravens’ decision to release him a couple of weeks ago.
Ingram says his reduction in playing time wasn’t due to any deterioration of his skills even though he just turned 31. He still believes he can be a valuable contributor for a new team.
- Albert Breer of SI mentions that five NFL teams with head coach vacancies tried to interview Iowa State HC Matt Campbell.
- Breer adds that one team nearly offered Campbell the job before he pulled his hat out of the ring, wanting to finish what he started at Iowa State.
- Campbell will most likely draw interest during the coaching cycle in years to come, according to Breer.