The NFL Players Association announced on Tuesday that Denver Broncos players will be the first team of players who will boycott OTAs, which begin Monday.
The only surprise is that the Broncos were the first team to agree to stay away. The union has been pressing the league for the past three weeks to go virtual with the offseason program.
Union president J.C. Tretter advised all players to boycott. I’m sure other players from other teams will follow suit in the next few days.
Concern about the pandemic is one of the main reasons, but the union really never liked the demand for player to be at team facilities for six weeks of training and learning. The NFLPA didn’t like the 10 OTA practices, thinking 10 was too many.
They would rather have to players learn on Zoom. Because OTAs are voluntary, the union used that as the basis to push for a boycott.
It wouldn’t surprise me if the league backs down and has a virtual offseason, but it probably wants the concession of having a minicamp for teams. That has to be negotiated. Only the June three-day minicamp is mandatory.
A lot of things will be hurt by this development. There are seven or eight college first-round prospects who opted out of last season. They haven’t been on the football field since 2019. Their return will be delayed.
It’s also going to cost players workout bonuses if they have them written into their contracts. It’s going to hurt new head coaches and it won’t help the five quarterbacks expected to go in the first round.
This will have an impact on the Broncos. If the Broncos draft a tackle in the first round, whether they stay at the ninth pick or trade down with New England, three of the top four tackles opted out last season and haven’t been on the field since 2019. If they stay at No. 9 and take Justin Fields or Trey Lance and there are no OTAs, the rookie quarterback’s first time on the field will be training camp.
Stay tuned. With this announcement, this should be interesting week of labor news.
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