NFL could delay free agency on Sunday

Sport

The NFL currently has “no plans” to delay the start of free agency. Those plans could be changing, soon.

Per a league source, the NFL currently is contemplating the possibility of announcing on Sunday a delay in the start of free agency. The league wants to wait until after voting on the CBA closes before making a final decision, in order to prevent further delays to the CBA voting process.

The league is keenly aware of the optics of players agreeing to terms on multi-million-dollar deals while the rest of the nation is adjusting to what will still be as of next week the early days of the coronavirus crisis. Likewise, with teams closing facilities, the traditional practice of new players showing up and signing contracts and conducting press conferences and holding up new jerseys can’t happen next week.

Despite the fact that the rest of the sports world has shut down, there’s a real question as to whether anyone will care about the transactions that will happen next week.

The NFL has the ability to delay the free-agency process; it did just that for more than four months in 2011, due to the lockout. This time around, the stakes are much higher than a garden-variety labor dispute. The league can, should, and quite possibly will delay the launch of the annual spending spree.