The NFL is willing to scrap preseason and have offered the NFL players association the option of playing zero preseason games amid the coronavirus crisis. This was after the NFLPA argued they saw zero point in playing meaningless preseason games.
While the games are meaningless for the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Donald, Stephon Gilmore, Julio Jones etc and those who are virtually guaranteed a roster spot in 2020. However, that isn’t the case for undrafted free agents, late round picks and minimum contract players.
The sympathy goes towards the undrafted free agents and late round picks who won’t have a chance to play a meaningful game to showcase their abilities to their new teams. They are playing for their futures and will find it hard to make any impression without any proper action. In addition, it is at a time where 185,000 Americans are losing their jobs everyday per Brian Klaas.
When it comes to the decision I can see both sides of the argument. Does it make sense for roster locks to be risking their health and safety? No, not all. However, couldn’t NFL have a preseason matchup based on geography for fringe players?
Matchups like these would potentially be suitable, the majority either being in the same state or just a short drive away from each other. The NFL is willing to scrap preseason entirely, but it is harsh to those players who may not get another chance.
- Eagles vs Steelers
- Ravens vs Redskins
- Giants vs Jets
- Bengals vs Browns
- Jaguars vs Dolphins
- Texans vs Cowboys
- Rams vs Chargers
- Falcons vs Saints
- Panthers vs Bucs
- Packers vs Vikings
- Lions vs Bears
- 49ers vs Raiders
- Patriots vs Bills
- Chiefs vs Broncos
- Seahawks vs Cardinals
- Colts vs Titans
Teams typically have a 75-90 man roster at this time in the offseason. Therefore it could benefit teams to use 35-40 players who aren’t guaranteed a roster spot for a possible preseason matchup. In order to maintain social distancing off the field teams could also take a skeleton coaching staff for the game.
Scrapping the preseason gives undrafted free agents will deprive those players of any opportunity to build their resumes. It will also deprive them of the chance to produce that starring moment to keep their NFL dreams alive.
Several undrafted players and late round picks have become stars in recent years. Chris Harris Jr, Michael Bennett, Tony Romo, Priest Holmes, Wes Welker, James Harrison, Jason Peters, Antonio Gates and Kurt Warner were all UDFA’s. As for late round picks Tom Brady, Antonio Brown, Richard Sherman, Terrell Davis, Shannon Sharpe, Bo Jackson, Robert Mathis, Bart Starr, Roger Staubach and many more.
Not only could a future Tom Brady see his chances die, but teams will be closing the doors on a chance of success further down the line for themselves.
There are issues with playing no preseason for the roster locks anyway. Will conditioning and fitness be a concern when players finally play meaningful action after an extended training camp?
The league has offered its players an extended acclimation period of seven to 18 days when they arrive at training camp in order to fix that potential problem.
The NFL is smart to cancel preseason amidst all the circumstances, but even so you can’t help but have sympathy for those who may not get a chance to showcase themselves.