How COVID-19 will impact Falcons' free agency, trade announcements

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As the NFL seeks to better protect players and league personnel from the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, it has prohibited any in-person visits with free agents at club facilities through March 31.

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This will prevent teams, including the Atlanta Falcons, from administering a physical examination at their facility. In addition, club personnel, including members of the club medical staff, may not travel to any location to meet with or conduct a medical examination of a free agent player.

Clubs will have opportunities to review a free agent player's medical records from his prior club(s) and to arrange for a free agent player to have a medical exam in the player's home city or at another nearby location, but teams often prefer to conduct physicals using their own training staff.

The coronavirus will therefore have an impact on how NFL teams and their media announce any transactions that occur at the start of the new league year. The NFL mandates that a contract cannot become official until a player undergoes a physical examination with his new team. The league is not allowing teams to announce that they have agreed to terms with a player, meaning that a signed contract must be completed prior to any announcement.

Because a contract cannot be officially signed without a physical taking place, and because teams are unable to conduct physicals in their facilities until at least March 31 due to COVID-19, any official announcements of transactions may be delayed.

AtlantaFalcons.com will continue to cover any reported news about transactions the Falcons make over the coming weeks, but those moves should not be considered official until otherwise indicated.

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