Do not expect NFL training camp to be held in 2020


Dalvin Cook showed up for work on Tuesday, the day the Minnesota Vikings were scheduled to report to training camp. No, he does not even want new contract extension running back yet. And no, despite the perceived threat in June, he never really had a chance that he was going to be out of camp in any way.

The traditional training camp by a player entering the final year of his contract is not something you can expect to see much of this year, and it has nothing to do with the coronavirus epidemic. Camp holdouts are mostly a thing of the past, the owners and players say, of the league’s new collective bargaining agreement approved in March. Here is the exact text in Article 8, Section 1 (b):

No player shall receive a recognized season for a league year in which the player is subject to a club contract and in which (i) he failed to report to the club’s preseason training camp on that player’s mandatory reporting date; Or (ii) the player failed to perform its contractual services for the period of time after his club until he Impartial Arbitrator extreme does not display personal suffering, which is the failure to report or performance, such as severe Illness or death in family. .

This was a priority for the owners in the final round of CBA negotiations. They wanted the punishment for training camp to be harsh, and they did. The previous CBA determined that players could not show up to camp until 30 days before the team’s first regular season game. So, in Cook’s case, that date would have been August 14. Under the new CBA, it was Tuesday.

Why does it matter? Losing an acquired season affects the player’s free-agency status. As a 2017 draft pick, Cook has entered three seasons so far, and requires him to be four eligible for unrestricted free agency. If he does not earn an earned season for 2020, next March he will be only a restricted agent, meaning the Vikings will have the right to match any offer they get from another team.

Now, even when the mandatory reporting date was later under the old rules, it did not stop everyone. For example, last year, the Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott held the 30-day-first-season mark well past the lead, which meant that if he were to go this past March Had he killed free agency, he would have been a restricted free agent rather than an unrestricted. Elliott did not care, anticipating his accomplishments in his first three seasons – that is, leading the league in rushing yards twice and rushing yards per game in the second year – from restricting his market to restricted free agency Will stop It finally does not matter, because he had signed the extension with the preceding Cowboys season.

But a player like Cook, even as great as he is, Elliot cannot believe the same thing. Cook has missed 19 matches in his three-year NFL career due to injury, and even though they were together in an excellent and healthy season, there is no way to ensure that a team will celebrate the Vikings for him . And Part with a second-round draft pick.

So Cook is there, as Joe Mixon will almost certainly be in Cincinnati and Alvin Kamara in Sin Francisco and George Kittle in San Francisco and all the other people who are going into the final years of their contracts and want new people in the cities. Play their teams. There is a stricter penalty than being taken out for a few days in camp, and it doesn’t make sense unless you are a star quarterback or someone who may feel that the restricted ban : The fee agency will not restrict well. you.

Three other things to know about this new feature of CBA:

Do not expect any “hold-in”. There are some people around the league who believe that a player in Cook’s position will show up for camp and simply refuse to practice until a new deal unfolds. It is possible, but go back and read Article 8, Section 1 (b) again and note where it is, “The player then failed to perform his contract services for the club for a material period of time. ” It refused to participate in that part of the team, the player will be allowed to dock for a win season if he did and mandatory practice activities. Can a player claim injury in Cook’s position? Sure. But if the team did not believe him, or diagnosed him as injured, then the case could end up in front of an arbitrator, who could rule in favor of the team and deny the player an acquired season .

The fines are stiff, but not for Cook, Mixon, Kamra or Kittle. The new CBA raised the maximum penalty for training camp from $ 40,000 per day to $ 50,000 per day, but fines for players who are still on their rookie contracts are capped at $ 40,000 per day, unless they There are no seasons in their fifth-year option. Drafted in 2017, any player entering the fourth year of his rookie contract, so the fines remain at $ per day 40,000 that he left the day. It threatens not that it means so much is because losing an accrued season is probably more important to act as a deterrent.

Penalties cannot be waived. It is that if a player held out and agreed in the end with the team on a new agreement, custom team will forgive fines were fixed. But as a result of the owners’ desire to discourage camp holdouts, the new CBA has a provision that prohibits them from doing so. Article 42, Section 1 states the penalty, “For the avoidance of doubt, any such penalty shall be compulsory, and shall not be reduced, in whole or in part, by the club in amount or exemption, but must be paid by the player or deducted by the club as provided in Section 5 (B) of this article. “ (Section 5 (b) specifies the manner of collecting the fine.)

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