Players approve plan to open NFL camps on time

NFL training camps set to open on time (0:48)

Jeff Darlington breaks down how a deal was reached between the NFL and NFLPA to open training camps Tuesday. (0:48)

The NFL Players Association board of representatives on Friday approved a plan that will have NFL training camp open as scheduled next week.

The league held a meeting with coaches, general managers, presidents and ownership Friday, and it concluded with clubs approving new training camp and roster rules, protocols for operations during the coronavirus pandemic and economics.

The players' board of representatives voted to adopt the proposed changes to the collective bargaining agreement by a count of 29-3, according to a statement from the NFLPA.

"The NFL clubs and the NFL Players Association approved an agreement that broadly resolves all outstanding issues relating to the opening of training camps and start of the 2020 season. Training camps will begin as scheduled," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "We have worked collaboratively to develop a comprehensive set of protocols designed to minimize risk for fans, players, and club and league personnel.

"These plans have been guided by the medical directors of the NFL and the NFLPA and have been reviewed and endorsed by independent medical and public health experts, including the CDC, and many state and local public health officials. The season will undoubtedly present new and additional challenges, but we are committed to playing a safe and complete 2020 season, culminating with the Super Bowl."

Among the agreements by NFL teams approved by the players, sources told ESPN:

  • The 80-man roster deadline is Aug. 16, before padded practice, but teams can have 90-man rosters if they go with a split-squad setup. Some teams have plans to split squads and use stadium and regular practice facilities.

  • The salary cap remains the same for 2020 at $198.2 million per team, and there is a cap floor of $175 million in 2021 with the possibility of it being higher, based on revenue streams.

  • The loss of any potential revenue will be spread out over the next four years, through 2024.

  • There will be a fund established to pay back any benefits eliminated as a result of COVID-19 up to 2023, as well as paying back any lost guaranteed money to players.

  • NFL players considered high risk to COVID-19 can earn $350,000 and an accrued NFL season if they choose to opt out of the 2020 season. Players without risk can earn $150,000 for opting out.

  • Players who make a team's cut get a $300,000 stipend if the season is canceled and no games are played. If a season is canceled before the cut-down date, players who were on a team in 2019 get $250,000.

Players will have seven days from the time the agreement is officially signed, likely on Monday, to make a decision about whether to opt out for this season, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

On Friday night, Kansas City Chiefs right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif became the first player to publicly say he's opting out.

Based on the proposal, a source told ESPN's Dan Graziano, the training camp acclimation schedule will start with four days of COVID-19 testing and then two days of physicals. Days 7-14 will cover strength and conditioning work only, and days 15-20 will involve practices in helmets and shells with no pads, the source said.

A maximum of 14 padded practices may be held, but none before Aug. 17. Additionally, there will be one off day per every seven days of work, the source told Graziano.

The NFL and the union agreed to drop all preseason games for the 2020 season, sources told ESPN earlier this week, and the league's management council sent a memo to all teams Friday, obtained by ESPN, confirming that decision.

The NFLPA on Friday said its executive board voted unanimously to approve the proposed changes to the CBA. The NFLPA board of representatives then voted to approve the changes on Friday afternoon.

As of Thursday night, the NFL and NFLPA had been negotiating on three key points: rules for the training camp acclimation period; procedures via which players could opt out of the season for coronavirus-related reasons and what would happen to the contracts of those who do; and how to handle the league's long-term finances and salary caps of future years in the wake of projected 2020 revenue loss as a result of the pandemic.

Tuesday is the reporting date for all teams except for Houston and Kansas City, who report earlier because they are scheduled to play the Thursday night opener on Sept. 10.