The 2020 NFL league year has proceeded according to plan this year in spite of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in the suspension or cancelation of sports leagues and tournaments around the world.
However, while free agency has seemed to go on without a hitch, the NFL canceled its annual meeting with team owners, and the NFL Draft will be held with essential personnel only.
Some within the league believe it is only a matter of time before the pandemic inhibits the typical functionality of organized team activities (OTAs) this spring. Ravens president Dick Cass is among the skeptics with respect to OTAs (via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk):
“I just don’t think the OTAs are going to happen at all … I hope I’m wrong. I’m hoping we can get some players in [the facility] in June, but I’m sort of doubtful of that.”
Cass also indicated there is a sheer lack of public knowledge with respect to the long-term impacts of the pandemic, which might make it difficult to ensure a safe environment for players and coaches:
“It’s really hard to know about long-term impacts … A lot of that is going to depend on how long the stay-at-home order remains in effect. If it lasts a long time, it could have obviously an effect on our season. No one expects that, but you just don’t know. . . . We are going about the business of continuing to spend money on players. We’ve been active in free agency and other teams have [too] on the assumption we’re going to have a full season.”
The league has already announced that the start of OTAs will be delayed indefinitely, and all NFL facilities are currently closed to all personnel, effective Wednesday.
Perhaps there will be more clarity within the next month, though Cass and other executives have every reason to wonder about what the future holds.