Sport: Salary cap issue may delay training camps?

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Most NFL teams are set to report to training camp July 28. Some teams’ rookies already have. Though no practice work can be done until players twice test negative for the coronavirus — in two separate tests over a four-day span — players are returning to cities in which their respective teams are located.

a close up of a green field: Could salary cap issues hamper the NFL's training camp plans? © Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports Could salary cap issues hamper the NFL's training camp plans?

But the financial issue the NFL and NFLPA have grappled over continues to be a sticking point. And if the sides cannot come to an agreement by Sunday night, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports training camps could continue the offseason’s virtual format.

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While the NFLPA wants to spread the pandemic-induced salary cap hit through 2030, some owners are seeking to not only lower next year’s cap but to reduce the 2020 cap, Pelissero notes. This would be a staggering adjustment for teams and players, and it will be difficult for the NFL to convince the NFLPA to agree to it. Even a $10M reduction would be too much “at this stage,” one GM said, via Pelissero.

The union balked at the league’s escrow proposal, pointing to a scenario that would feature players losing jobs and money as an unlikely one to come to pass. The NFL already proposed a $40M slash off the 2020 cap, which sits at $198M. As expected, that did not gain traction with the union. Players’ 2020 salaries are locked in as soon as one game is played this season.

NFL, NFLPA reach agreement on 2021 salary cap

  NFL, NFLPA reach agreement on 2021 salary cap The NFL and NFLPA have agreed to some compromises regarding finances. Next year’s salary cap will be no lower than $175M, Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com report. Rather than borrowing money from projected future revenues through 2030 — as the players initially sought — this agreement will take projected funds through 2024 to help guard against a salary cap free fall this season could cause, Mark Maske of the Washington Post tweets. Read more here.

No deadline is in place regarding these talks, but Pelissero adds that owners want this resolved by the time the Chiefs and Texans rookies begin strength and conditioning work — which is scheduled for Sunday. Should the league and the union fail to agree on a financial solution — one they have been discussing for months — the league could table training camps and return to virtual work. In a year featuring no preseason games, this would deal another blow to teams’ development and player safety while potentially putting Week 1 in peril.

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