GREEN BAY - The National Football League began the legal tampering period of free agency as scheduled Monday, but by the end of the day the league had clarified parts of the free-agent process and postponed spring workouts indefinitely due to the widening coronavirus pandemic.
That means that while the league will hold the draft at the end of April as scheduled (though not for the public in Las Vegas), teams will not host voluntary workouts in April, post-draft rookie orientations or “rookie camps” in early May and will not begin organized team activities thereafter.
The Packers were scheduled to begin voluntary workouts on April 20 in head coach Matt LaFleur's second season.
A joint statement released by the NFL and the NFL Players Association read, in part, “the parties will periodically meet and reassess the public health situation to determine an appropriate start date for any offseason team activities and other related considerations as this situation develops.”
In 2019, three of the Packers’ 10 OTA sessions were open to the public.
On Sunday the Centers for Disease Control recommended a ban on mass gatherings until the second week of May, which would have postponed any rookie camps in the league. The Packers held theirs May 3-5 in 2019.
Regarding free agency, NFL teams can still enter into a contractual agreement with a player but the player cannot visit the team facility and team personnel cannot visit the player.
“The NFL and NFLPA are developing protocols that will provide clubs with opportunities to review a free agent player’s medical records from his prior club(s) and to arrange for a free agent player to have a medical exam in the player’s home city or at another nearby location,” the statement read. “These steps are consistent with those announced last Friday for club contact with draft-eligible college players.”
The NFL also elected to close its facilities completely to players who do not need medical care for at least the two weeks.