The NFL regular season is less than two months away. Training camp, scheduled to start on July 28th, is just under a week away. But the NFL and NFLPA are still trying to reach an agreement and iron out the kinks on a pseudo collective bargaining agreement for the 2020 season.
In the latest update from NFL Media's Tom Pelissero, the NFL has agreed to bypass the preseason altogether, meaning there will be no preseason games in 2020. Originally, the NFL had suggested cutting the preseason in half and playing just two games. For those looking forward to seeing the Jaguars take on the Bucs, Falcons, Panthers, and the team from Washington, it's certainly not the most exciting prospect in the world. But for the safety and health of everyone involved, it seems like the smart move.
The biggest loser? Undrafted free agents and young players trying to make the 53-man roster. Preseason games have always represented a chance for young, unproven players to make their mark. Practice will undoubtedly become more important, but without game reps, it's challenging to stand out with limited exposure in practice. Fortunately for these fringe players, practice squads have been expanded from ten to 12, and there is talk of further expanding them to 16.
Another tough break for players on the roster bubble? It's expected that teams will take only 80 players, instead of the standard 90, into training camp. The Jaguars, like many clubs around the league, have 90 players currently on their roster. That means 10 of them will be released before the start of training camp.
The NFL and NFLPA have agreed to have voluntary and high-risk opt-out clauses for players who choose not to play in 2020. And players will receive a stipend for games lost if the season should be shortened. The finer points of both issues are still getting ironed out.
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