According to sources, the NFL is shortening its 2020 preseason to two games as the league narrows down its strategy amid the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, the league has also canceled the supplemental draft after discussions with the NFL management council executive committee.
The NFL has canceled Weeks One and Four of the 2020 preseason, ESPN’s Kevin Seifert writes. Although most players will report for training camp on July 28, the league will not play its first preseason games until Aug. 20-24. Earlier this week, the NFL canceled the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 8.
The second — and final — set of preseason games is scheduled for the following weekend for Aug. 27-31. In order for each team to play one home game and one away game, the original NFL preseason schedule will need to be adjusted.
The NFL’s standard preseason has consisted of four games since 1978. Prior to this year, teams played six games before the season officially began. Aside from the 2020 season, the league plans to permanently cut the preseason to three games after it extends the regular season to 17 games sometime in 2021.
Teams that travel for their lone preseason away game will depart a day before the game. Since teams were not able to practice on the field during the offseason, players will need more time to get into football shape. Cutting the preseason in half will help accomplish this. ESPN’s Dan Graziano reported that training camp rosters will more than likely feature fewer than 90 players.
The NFL on Wednesday told teams they will not be holding a supplemental draft this year, a source told NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. The league’s management council executive committee determined not to move forward with the draft “in light of current conditions.”
Under the current NFL collective bargaining agreement, the supplemental draft, which began in 1977, is optional. It allows teams a chance to select players who didn’t qualify for the regular draft due to eligibility issues. If a team chooses a player during the supplemental draft, it forfeits the corresponding pick in the following year’s draft.
Players who would’ve normally been available during the 2020 supplemental draft will now be eligible for the 2021 regular draft.
Not a single player was selected during the 2016 and 2017 supplemental drafts. Over the last two seasons, however, the NFL has seen three players enter the league via this draft. In 2019, the Arizona Cardinals forfeited a 2020 fifth-round draft pick with their selection of safety Jalen Thompson.