All remaining issues between the NFL and the NFL Players Association on the side letter to the collective bargaining agreement making changes for the 2020 season have been resolved and, following a review by the union, the deal is done, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Monday evening.
Perhaps the largest agreement comes with the sides' accordance for an opt-out deadline, which will be Thursday at 4 p.m. ET, as Pelissero reported players were informed of the deadline on Monday night. They were likewise told that the annual drug testing window would commence on Friday.
While the deadline for players to opt out of the season is set for Thursday, the deal the NFL and NFLPA finalized will also permit players to opt out later in two specified situations due to family or medical circumstances, Pelissero reported. Those two ways are a player gets a new diagnosis he has a high-risk condition, or a player's family member dies, is hospitalized or otherwise moves to a medical facility because of COVID-19 or related condition.
Another resolution of note is that any player who is defined as high-risk, including undrafted free agents and players who did not earn a credited season in 2019, qualify for the same $350,000 stipend if they opt out of the 2020 season, Pelissero reported.
Nearly 50 NFL players have decided to opt out of the upcoming season, thus far.
As for the opening of the drug-testing window, there is a bit of augmentation there, as well. Traditionally, players are tested in the first two weeks of training camp, but this year a bit of a grace period has been extended with a window of Aug. 7-17, Pelissero reported. It's also notable as, under the new CBA's policy on substances of abuse, players can no longer be suspended for positive drug tests, but can incur fines.
Among the accords in the adjusted CBA, the league and union agreed to extend the deadline for players living with high-risk individuals to request alternate housing for the season to Week 1, or seven days after a later diagnosis, Pelissero reported. The team must provide housing, which counts as a player-benefit cost.
Following the agreement, the NFL Management Council sent NFL teams an updated discipline schedule that included suspensions and fines for what is deemed "High Risk COVID-19 Conduct," such as going to bars, clubs and house parties without personal protective equipment or that involve greater than 10 people in attendance.
Players will also be subject to fines for refusing to submit to virus testing ($50,000) and refusing to wear a mask, PPE or tracking devise or failing to maintain social distancing during team travel, which would be progressive fines of up to $14,650.
All Tier 1 and 2 non-player employees, such as coaches and medical staff, are subject to similar discipline for violations of COVID-19 rules, Pelissero added.
With CBA changes now resolved, more details are available on how the league and teams can handle unpredictable scenarios possible due to the coronavirus pandemic.
One pointed out by Pelissero was if a player is diagnosed with COVID-19 or quarantined the night prior to or the morning of a game, the league will allow teams to promote a practice squad player with notice to the league office until 90 minutes ahead of kickoff.