Carthage’s Null to play at Division II Mercyhurst

Football

With the rest of the sports world on hold, the NFL is expected to delay the start of the league year — including free agency — scheduled to begin Wednesday at 4 p.m.

The Washington Post and ESPN reported talks are underway between the NFL Players Association and league to delay the start of the league year. With the approval of the collective bargaining agreement on Saturday night, players must sign off on any changes to the scheduled March 18 start of the 2020 NFL league year.

Unrestricted free agents could be put on hold for a period of weeks before the league permits negotiations.

The NFL draft is scheduled for April 23-25 in Las Vegas. The draft also is expected to be delayed.

Multiple teams have shut down facilities and ordered employees to work from home, including the Cincinnati Bengals, amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Bengals have the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 draft.

“Most immediately, the start of our league year, which is due to be this Wednesday, (when) free agency begins, that’s going to be, I think, pushed back,” Saints head coach Sean Payton said. “Because there’s a lot that goes into that, there’s a lot of visits players take.”

The CBA, approval by a narrow vote from NFL players, creates an immediate impact for teams that had hoped to use the franchise tag and transition tag. The new CBA allows teams to use one of the tags, both not both.

Among teams impacted by the change are the Dallas Cowboys and Tennessee Titans. Dallas is attempting to retain marquee offensive players, including quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper, and the Titans are in limbo with quarterbacks Ryan Tannehill and Marcus Mariota to hit free agency along with running back Derrick Henry. According to reports Sunday morning, the Titans are preparing a “big” contract offer to Henry.

The NFLPA and NFL are scheduled to discuss a plan for resetting the offseason on Sunday, The Washington Post reported.

Prospect visits to NFL teams, who are allowed to host 30 players between the end of the NFL Scouting Combine and mid-April, are prohibited by the NFL. Instead the league ordered teams to conduct video or telephone interviews with draft-eligible players until further notice.

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