NFL Lifts Restrictions on Free-Agent Tryouts Amid Pandemic

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 11, 2020

Seattle Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (90) looks on during an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Philadelphia. Seattle won 17-9. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Chris Szagola/Associated Press

The NFL told teams Tuesday they could begin holding tryouts for free agents, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. 

Per Pelissero: "Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, NFL clubs had been banned from bringing in players to their facility, with an exception recently for physicals. Today's memo clears the way for some free agents teams wanted a closer look at on the field to get signed in the days and weeks ahead."    

That's big news for big-name free agents still on the market like Jadeveon Clowney, Larry Warford, Logan Ryan and Everson Griffen, among others. For Clowney, in particular, teams may have been hesitant to splash the major cash he's expecting before seeing him in person, especially after he required offseason surgery to address a core injury. 

With Clowney reportedly wanting at least $17 million per year in his next deal, teams will want to do their due diligence. 

Wide receiver Dez Bryant, who is trying to work his way back into the NFL, was happy to hear Tuesday's news:

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Pelissero did note that all free-agent signings "still must undergo COVID-19 entry screening" before joining team activities and would need to test negative three consecutive times if signed off the street or two consecutive times—"each 24 hours apart"—if they were roster cuts the day prior or picked up via waiver claims and trades.

But the bigger news is that free agents can now work out for teams. With a number of talented players still available well into the summer—a rarity in most years, though surely at least partially a byproduct of the COVID-19 pandemic—Tuesday's news should help facilitate more signings in the coming days and weeks.