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NFLPA Reportedly Seeks To Change Offseason Structure

Potential proposal would eliminate OTAs in spring

The Cardinals have two more weeks of OTAs before their minicamp week in mid-June, and then players, coaches and front office essentially are off for a month before coming back for training camp. That's how it has been for years in the NFL.

But a report Tuesday morning from NFL Network suggests that could be changing. Dramatically.

The NFL Players Association is creating a proposal that would end OTAs and the other on-field work in the spring. In exchange, players would end up with a longer ramp-up for training camp, reporting for the season as early as mid-June.

What's interesting is that the idea is reportedly based in data, with the NFLPA trying to figure out how to reduce injuries and maximize recovery from the previous season. And there is nothing yet about how much of this is voluntary -- everything in the spring, including all the OTAs, is voluntary. Only the three days of minicamp (in mid-June for the Cardinals and most teams) is mandatory.

It also says there can be classroom work in the spring -- which then begs the question, is it asking for more time from players, just not on the field. (Those could be held virtually.)

"Whatever the schedule is, everyone has to abide by the rules," said Cardinals coach Jonathan Gannon, who acknowledged he had only seen the "headline" of what might change. "We'd try to make the best of it, and try to get done what we need to get done in the time allotted."

It would echo where NFL offseasons used to be once upon a time. The minicamp itself is only since the 1980s, and that used to be an offseason oasis of football in a stretch of nothing after the season -- but players would report to training camp once upon a time the first week of July and play six preseason games.

As we all know, the preseason game schedule is shrinking even more. At some point, there will be only two. But how the players end up getting to those exhibition games could be changing -- and it could be as soon as next offseason.

Arizona Cardinals cornerback Bobby Price (26) during 2024 OTA’s Wednesday, May 22, 2024 in Tempe, AZ.