Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic nixed all in-person offseason work. Although Roger Goodell said in early February that he expects this offseason to also be mostly virtual, teams might have the opportunity to convene much earlier than they did in 2020.
Teams can begin holding OTAs on April 19, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Teams with new head coaches will not receive a head start, which was the format before 2020, but any work at team facilities would represent a significant change after last year’s fully virtual offseason.
Players can work out in small groups, as some already have been, at team headquarters. The NFL and NFLPA have yet to iron out a full policy for the 2021 offseason, although the union has lobbied for increased virtual work. Last year, only players rehabbing injuries could work out at team facilities.
Until there is a new deal in place, the NFL’s usual rules apply, Pelissero tweets. That will mean in-person work, although this portion of the offseason is technically voluntary. But unless the NFL and NFLPA agree on another deal to adjust the offseason amid the pandemic, players would need to show up for OTAs to earn workout bonuses. NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said he expected the new offseason structure to be agreed to in March or April. With in-person OTAs on the schedule until that happens, it should be expected an agreement will surface before April 19.