Report: NFL Players May Use Online Workouts to Earn Contract Bonuses Amid Hiatus

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 6, 2020

Football with 100 year logo during an NFL football game at Ford Field in Detroit, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)
Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

The sports world is continually adjusting to the new realities of the coronavirus pandemic, and the NFL is reportedly turning toward videoconferencing as one way to solve the issue of workout bonuses.

According to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports, the league is trying to create an online process that would allow players with offseason workout bonus clauses in their contracts to earn them even though team facilities are closed and travel restrictions are in place.

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk reported the NFL wants players to wear heart monitors while working out via videoconference.

Robinson noted the NFL could implement a universal system for the bonuses so some teams don't have more rigorous standards in place during the pandemic.

There is also the issue of technological differences between teams.

"One of the biggest problems is how to keep it from being a competitive advantage for some teams," one league source told Robinson. "Some of these teams are in the Stone Age with their technology. Others are more advanced with their analytics and ability to do things virtually with players. So [the league] has to come up with some kind of system that works for everyone, to keep it from being an advantage for some teams."

There is more than just workout bonuses at stake.

Florio pointed to offseason per diems players can earn, which gives them $235 per day for participating in offseason programs. Having video workouts available would at least provide teams with the opportunity to provide these per diems to players who participate.

It is yet another adjustment during an offseason full of them.

Still, the NFL has not been as impacted as other leagues such as the NBA, NHL and MLB to this point seeing how they all had to postpone their current seasons. While offseason activities have been canceled and there were fewer opportunities to scout players, free agency continued and the draft is still on pace to happen April 23-25.

Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to teams on Monday noting all facilities will remain closed and the draft will be "fully virtual," per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

The draft is still set to happen, and the league may be working toward a system to allow for some type of online workouts to settle contract issues.

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