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..OTA's... when can the Jets begin ? ? ?


kelly
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The NFL’s offseason workout schedule is beginning to take shape a year after the COVID-19 pandemic forced teams to conduct everything virtually.Clubs can start Phase 1 of their Organized Team Activities (OTAs) on April 19, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. That phase involves meetings between players and coaches. There are still a lot of details to be worked out between now and then, but it gives teams a framework to build on as they head into the 2021 season.Typically, a team like the Jets, who just hired a new head coach, would have been able to begin this part of the offseason this week.

But given the state of the pandemic and the uncertainty of the rest of the offseason schedule, it appears as though the NFL is leveling the playing field for all teams.Pelissero went on to explain “there’s hope for practices this spring, even if meetings remain virtual indefinitely.” This is a stark difference from last year when all team facilities were closed until May 19 – well into the offseason and after the draft. It’s unclear if the preseason will happen, either, after the NFL canceled it last year, but NFL commissioner Roger Goodell did say he expects stadiums to open at full capacity for the 2021 season.

>   https://jetswire.usatoday.com/2021/03/31/when-can-the-jets-begin-otas-2021/

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The NFL Players Association continues to push back against the NFL’s desire for in-person workouts this spring. The union wants an all-virtual offseason, arguing it is the smartest and safest approach.NFLPA President JC Tretter told players on a call Friday the union will urge players not to show up if teams conduct in-person organized team activities, Tom Pelissero of NFL Media reports.

“We’ve been telling them: It’s voluntary, and we’re not gonna go,” Tretter said, via Pelissero.

Of the NFL’s 2,500 players, some 300 have workout bonuses they would lose by skipping OTAs, according to Pelissero.Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the lone mandatory work before training camp is a June minicamp. The union wants even that to be virtual again this year because of the ongoing pandemic.Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians has pointed out that a virtual offseason program benefits veteran players.

“If we lose spring, [young players] are not getting developed. The veterans love that s–t, because that means they don’t get to take their jobs,” Arians said in February.

Talks continue between the NFL and the NFLPA over the offseason program. Phase One is scheduled to begin April 19 with players allowed to work out at the team facility in small groups.

>    https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2021/04/09/nflpa-tells-nfl-it-will-urge-players-not-to-show-up-for-any-in-person-offseason-work/

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The NFL Players Association wants players to chose not to attend voluntary offseason workouts. Whether and to what extent this strategy works will hinge in large part on the agents who represent NFL players.

Agents have a duty to each player to represent his best interests. And agents won’t care nearly as much about the collective message the union wants to send when it comes to helping one specific player maximize his football earnings.Plenty of players have workout bonuses, for example. The payments usually range from $100,000 to $500,000, and they require 90-percent participation in the offseason program. As one agent told PFT on Tuesday night, “If I have a player with a workout bonus, I’m telling him to go in.”

Some within union leadership would say that the agents who have negotiated workout bonuses into player contracts already have forfeited their clients’ ability to boycott voluntary offseason drills. With so many players routinely showing up, however, why balk at the possibility of getting a six-figure payment to do what the player was going to do anyway?Then there’s the much bigger issue of young players trying to earn roster spots. Said the same agent, “If I have a young player trying to make the team, I’m telling him to go in.”

There’s no reason for a young player to do anything else. The NFL is a unique industry that has a unionized labor force of nearly 2,900 until (ironically) Labor Day weekend, when more than a third of the rank and file lose their jobs. Some get hired as lower-paid practice-squad employees. Ultimately, however, there are only 1,696 jobs on active, in-season rosters.So if a young player with a low salary wants to make an impression on the folks who’ll ultimately hand out those 53 jobs per team, what should the young player do? The answer is easy and obvious: Show up. Get reps. Earn trust. And, potentially, win a job.

Although the ongoing pandemic is the stated reason for the recommended boycott of offseason workouts, it’s possible if not likely that this is a strategy aimed at making it harder for younger, cheaper players to establish a foothold with the coaching staff. This year especially, with the salary cap more than $25 million lower per team than it would have been, a team that can, for example, keep a young player at $700,000 over a veteran at $7 million will do it, saving $6.3 million in cash and cap space.

For the younger players, then, the offseason boycott becomes an opportunity. An opportunity to develop. To grow. To enhance standing. Potentially, to have a job come September.With agents keenly aware of that dynamic, most if not all young, fringe players who are being advised by their union to stay away will be directed by their agents to show up. That dynamic alone could cause the entire effort to collapse.

Even though three teams already have issued statements that they’ll stay away, those teams are two weeks or so away from drafting rookies and signing a crop of undrafted free agents. Those new players most likely will show up in Denver, Seattle, and Tampa Bay — and in any other city whose veteran players prefer to protect their roster spots and game checks by giving the younger players reduced chances to take them.

>    https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2021/04/13/agents-will-be-key-factor-in-whether-offseason-workout-boycott-succeeds/

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