The NFL has opened the door for lingering free agents to potentially find new homes.
The league informed all 32 clubs on Tuesday that its prohibition on tryouts has been lifted, effective immediately, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported per a source informed of the situation.
The prohibition had banned NFL teams from bringing players into their facilities for workouts, with a recent exception for physicals. Tuesday's change makes it possible for players who can perform well enough in a workout setting to earn a contract, and allows teams to get a closer look at intriguing players who remain available as we close in on the start of the 2020 season. Notable free agents such as edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney and defensive back Logan Ryan might finally find a place to play in 2020 as a result.
The health protocols will remain for all signings, as players still must undergo COVID-19 entry screenings. Such screening includes testing negative three consecutive times (for free agents who had not been with a team recently), or two straight times if they were cut the prior day, or acquired via waiver claim or trade. Each negative test must happen 24 hours apart before joining team activities, per Pelissero.
NFL teams also can only host eight prospects for workouts per day, and club personnel must wear personal protective equipment and remain 6 feet away from the tryout player at all times.
In a typical, non-pandemic training camp, workouts would help fill out the roster and give hopeful players a chance to land in a team's camp, where they might end up working their way onto a final 53-man roster. It would also confirm teams' interest in veterans who might make an impact in the latter stages of their careers. Now, teams can continue shaping their roster with the return of a familiar process in what remains an unfamiliar time.