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2020 season still up in the air as owners, players’ association meet today

Training camp set to start end of July for the Broncos, but NFLPA still negotiating terms for players getting on the field in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Good morning, Broncos Country!

No matter what ends up happening for the 2020 season, one thing is very clear - it’s going to be a lot different than any other season to date...if it even comes into existence.

After the latest stall in negotiations between the NFL and NFL Players Association to figure out how the season may get underway, NFL owners are meeting with the NFLPA today via video conference in hopes of reaching an agreement.

The deadline is imminent as the new CBA allows rookies for the Texans and Chiefs - who are set to kick off the regular season on Sept. 10 - to start training camp as early as Saturday and for all 32 teams next Tuesday.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported yesterday that the Chiefs have instructed rookies, select veterans and quarterbacks to report for COVID-19 testing Monday, and the rest of the team is to report to camp July 25, the Chiefs’ original reporting date. Texans rookies also were informed that they were to report on Monday.

The NFL - like all pro sports organizers - had hoped the coronavirus spread would be more contained by now so training camp could resume on time. But Covid-19 cases are skyrocketing in most states and especially in some of the NFL’s major markets such as Houston, Miami, Phoenix, and Los Angeles.

Proposals, counter proposals

The NFL last week proposed holding 35% of player salaries in escrow, prompting a counter proposal from the NFLPA over the weekend.

The counter proposal from the NFLPA rejected the escrow plan for 2020 salaries and suggested a flat salary cap of $198.2 million for 2021. The players’ association also suggested spreading revenue losses from this year over the salary caps between 2022-2030 plus paying fully guaranteed money even if games are canceled due to the pandemic.

The NFLPA also wants coronavirus testing every day and no preseason games in 2020, while the league wants less frequent testing (such as every other day) and two preseason games, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported.

The NFL sent its own counter proposal to the NFLPA Tuesday evening that still insisted on two preseason games and no injury protection for a positive COVID-19 test or daily testing.

Where the 2020 season stands

With a camp deadline looming, the two groups are far apart on their priorities - something Texans’ J.J. Watt, who has participated in the NFLPA meetings, highlighted via Twitter yesterday.

Broncos veterans are still expected to report to training camp July 28 - the annual event that will be held without fans this year.

Broncos’ season ticket holders were informed of their choices for the upcoming year, and needless to say, it’s going to be odd at Mile High (or whatever they want us to call it) this season.

In the memo sent to Broncos season ticket holders, the team told fans the stadium will not be able to be at full capacity and gave several options for the upcoming season, including a credit for the 2021 season or a full refund of 2020, with first priority for single-game ticket sales that may come available if a limited number of fans are allowed.

The memo also outlined Covid-19 protocols that will be in place, such as mandatory social distancing and face-covering requirements for all fans.

“We have also taken other proactive measures to increase the cleanliness of our stadium, adding cashless concession options, touchless bathroom fixtures, sanitation stations and the latest air purification technology,” the memo said.

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