We may finally start to see some of the high-profile free agents still on the market land with new teams. As Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reports (via Twitter), the league has lifted its prohibition on free agent tryouts. Unsigned players can now come into a team’s facility to be fully evaluated.
Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic had forced the NFL to ban clubs from hosting free agents, though an exception was recently made for players to take a physical with an interested team (as with Mike Daniels and the Bengals, for instance). Now, however, players like Jadeveon Clowney and Everson Griffen, who have languished on the open market, can visit a facility to try and alleviate any concerns teams might have about them.
Per Pelissero, there are a number of safety precautions the league is putting in place (Twitter link). All signed players must undergo COVID-19 entry screening, and street free agents must test negative three consecutive times before participating in team activities. Players acquired from another club (e.g., a player who had been cut the previous day) must test negative two consecutive times. All tests will be 24 hours apart.
Signed players may participate in virtual meetings while awaiting test results, and teams will receive a roster exemption for a player acquired from another club until his second negative tests comes back (Twitter link via Pelissero). All new players will be tested for six consecutive days after arriving at the facility.
So, there are still a number of hoops for FAs and other new players to jump through, but this is a key development that will shift free agent activity to a much more familiar format.