Five more teams joined the lot of those who have pledged to pass on the NFL’s in-person OTAs this spring. The Chargers, Falcons, Steelers, Jets and Texans indicated all or most of their players will not attend workouts at team facilities.
The Bolts' and Falcons’ statements said “many” of their respective players will not attend workouts, while the Steelers’ statement provided no such qualifier. The Jets join the Chargers and Falcons by pointing out that “many players” have agreed to do so. Some are likely to attend workouts. Veteran NFL reporter Aaron Wilson noted the Texans voted not to attend.
Thus far, these five join the Broncos, Seahawks, Buccaneers, Bears, Browns, Giants, Patriots, Lions and Raiders in vowing to stay away from team facilities this offseason. The Steelers’ statement indicated the protocols that were in place last season are not entirely present for the NFL’s offseason program, creating confusion. Teams can begin holding onsite offseason workouts Monday, and more than half the league’s franchises are set to do so.
The NFL and NFLPA have been discussing offseason protocols for several weeks. No resolution has come, leading union president JC Tretter to call for these boycotts. The Chargers, Steelers and Falcons will proceed virtually, but some players — presumably the ones with workout bonuses — will likely show up. It will be interesting how teams navigate this matter after the draft. Draft picks and UDFAs can gain more from onsite offseason work, with the latter group not exactly in position to shun developmental opportunities. How rookies proceed could influence how certain veterans do as well.
For now, however, there are 14 teams that have come forward to say they will stay away from OTAs due to COVID-19 concerns. That list might continue expanding ahead of Monday.