The Buffalo Bills’ voluntary offseason program kicks off today as we take the first meaningful on-field steps toward the 2020 NFL season, but the cloud of the coronavirus will continue to hang over the event. Without the ability to meet at team facilities, workouts will be entirely virtual this year.
Normally, the first phase of the offseason program would consist of conditioning and strength training for three weeks. The only on-field work allowed is with the strength and conditioning coaches. That remains true this year, but players will be training at home and their coaching will come remotely via live and pre-recorded video.
In a memo sent to teams earlier this offseason, it was made clear that if one NFL team is being forced to stay away from the facility, none of the teams will be able to report. Based on the widespread stay-at-home orders around the country, it’s going to be an awfully long time before we see the facilities re-open.
This might be my favorite part of the whole thing, though:
Teams are permitted to send players workout equipment and monitoring devices -- e.g. kettlebells, resistance bands, Apple watches, etc. -- provided the cost for any individual player doesn't exceed $1,500.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 13, 2020
Teams can send players equipment, so we can track biometrics using technology, or they can make sure you have what the strength coaches want you to have. What’s unclear is if the $1500 limit applies to everything. Could a team ship out new materials each week while the original materials are returned, as long as what’s in the player’s possession is under $1500 in value? Also, how is that limit going to be enforced?
It’s uncharted territory, but the league is continuing to proceed as closely to normal as possible.