The NFL is currently planning on holding the 2020 draft between April 23–25 despite a unanimous recommendation from the league’s general manager subcommittee to commissioner Roger Goodell that it should be delayed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
On Tuesday evening, Goodell sent a memo to its clubs alerting them that all club facilities will remained closed to all personnel, with limited exceptions.
And per Schefter, GMs are “concerned” that there “won’t be enough time for player physicals, gathering psychological testing, getting further verified information about the players” and that some teams might potentially have to conduct the draft from home.
While the league still has time to adjust its plan, according to ESPN, the owners and the league office appear to want the date to remain.
In the Tuesday memo, the NFL said that despite facilities being closed, clubs are “free to conduct all normal business operations, including signing players, evaluating draft-eligible prospects, selling tickets, and other activities to prepare for the 2020 season.”
NFL free agency began last week despite a number of other North American sports leagues being firmly in the middle of figuring out future plans amid the global health crisis.
An AFC executive told The MMQB’s Albert Breer last week that the “‘2nd wave’ [of free agency] seemed to blend in immediately after the ‘1st wave,'” largely as a result of minimal personnel being club facilities and players not being able to take team visits.
“Appreciate the well wishes. I’m feeling better and fortunate to not have any of the respiratory symptoms. 4 more days at home,” Payton said on Twitter.
As of Tuesday night, there are more than 406,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus worldwide, causing more than 18,000 deaths. There are more than 52,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States.