The NFL's new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that was approved in March contained a new set of rules pertaining to the start of training camp.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the new CBA would require 30 NFL teams to report to training camp on July 28, which is 47 days prior to the first Sunday of the regular season or 48 days prior to the first Monday of the regular season. Schefter also reports that the two teams scheduled to kick off the 2020 season on Thursday, Sept. 25 – the Houston Texans and the Kansas City Chiefs – would report on July 25, which is also 47 days prior to their first game.
This is a new level of uniformity from the NFL regarding reporting dates for training camp. Under the previous CBA, teams were required to report to camp 15 days before their first preseason game, but given that preseason games took place on a variety of days the reporting times for teams were much less consistent.
Mentioned in Schefter's report is the well-known wrench that the current coronavirus pandemic has thrown into the situation.
"The league and PA still are engaged in discussions that could wind up changing the rules surrounding camp, delaying the start, eliminating some preseason games, and gradually trying to build up the players' workloads in a safe and orderly manner," Schefter writes. "No decisions have been made, conversations are ongoing, and teams are anxious to hear what the NFL and NFLPA decide."
The current CBA also differs from the previous ones in the types of practices teams can conduct during training camp and when. While fully padded practices could begin on the fourth day of training camp, that can no longer occur until Day 7. Instead, as Schefter reports, Day 4 and Day 5 will be full-speed practices in "spiders and shells" with the sixth day being a mandatory off day for teams.
Like all NFL teams, the Falcons are waiting to hear when they can report for training camp or return to their practice facility. Currently the team is conducting a virtual offseason with players and coaches meeting through online technology. Members of the coaching staff were allowed to return to the team facility for the first time on Monday.