NFL, players union strike deal to ease impact of pandemic strain
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The NFL and the NFL Players Association reached an agreement Friday to limit the financial impacts of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic on the league and have training camps open on schedule with health protections for players.

The league is set to spread the effect of its reduced revenue in 2020 over four years, beginning in 2021. The league’s salary cap, or the amount of money each team can spend on player salaries, will drop to at least $175 million in 2021 from $198.2 million in 2020.

The players association, a union representing NFL players, signed onto the plan after team owners agreed to raise it to $175 million from $165 million and dropped a request to reduce the 2020 cap by $8 million.

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Executives have warned that the NFL’s revenue could drop by up to $4 billion in 2020, depending on whether fans will be able to safely attend games in the fall, the Wall Street Journal reported. Others worried that teams would have to cut fan favorites under proposed cuts.

The players association and the NFL also agreed on safety precautions for players during the coronavirus pandemic, allowing training camps to begin July 28, as originally scheduled.  

The league will opt out of preseason games. Players will also participate in a 20-day ramp up period to help them practice ahead of the season while minimizing injuries, USA Today reported.

Players will also engage in some no-contact practices and be tested for COVID-19, among other measures.

Players who opt out of participating in the season and are determined to be high risk for coronavirus will receive a $350,000 stipend, according to the league. Other players who voluntarily opt out of the season will receive $150,000. 

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement Friday saying that, "We have worked collaboratively to develop a comprehensive set of protocols designed to minimize risk for fans, players, and club and league personnel.”

“These plans have been guided by the medical directors of the NFL and the NFLPA and have been reviewed and endorsed by independent medical and public health experts, including the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] CDC, and many state and local public health officials," he added. "The season will undoubtedly present new and additional challenges, but we are committed to playing a safe and complete 2020 season, culminating with the Super Bowl."