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Schefter: NFL Teams Not Happy Free Agency Is Still This Week Amid Coronavirus

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2020

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a news conference, Monday, Feb. 3, 2020, in Miami, the day after the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 54. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

Some teams are reportedly unhappy the NFL plans to open the 2020 league year as scheduled rather than delay Wednesday's start amid the coronavirus outbreak.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported teams are upset because they still plan on bringing high-profile free agents in for visits using private planes, which means hiring crews to man the flights.

A general manager told Peter King of NBC Sports the league is being "tone deaf" by continuing with free agency.

"Tone deaf is right!" the general manager said. "The world has stopped. We're in a national emergency as a country and we do this? It's awful. We're telling the rest of the world we don't care. Can you imagine the reaction to some player signing a $60 million contract this week and that being in the headlines while thousands and thousands of people are losing their jobs because of this virus! It's ridiculous."

The start date of the league year is a collectively bargained issue, meaning the NFL and NFLPA have to agree on a pushback. King reported union leader DeMaurice Smith has so far resisted any moving of the schedule in order to begin the signing period for players.

"It's arrogant," another general manager said. "It looks gross. We need to chill out for a while. The optics of it are going to be awful."

Smith denied the NFL asked to move back the league year in an appearance Monday on SportsCenter

Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported the union and the NFL have a conference call scheduled for Monday to discuss how to handle free agency. Teams have expressed concern regarding physicals in particular, which are standard procedure when signing a contract. It's unclear if the optics of the issue will force the NFLPA to reconsider its position.

The NBA, NHL and MLB, along with most other sports leagues, have ceased all operations amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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