The NFL and the NFL Players Association agreed to a virtual offseason program earlier this week, which means the Houston Texans are allowed to "report" in less than two weeks.
Because team facilities around the league remain closed due to COVID-19, the NFL offseason program would allow online classroom instruction, virtual workouts and non-football education. Teams with new head coaches can begin as early as Monday, April 20 and on April 27 for returning head coaches.
Offseason workouts, even under the new revised guidelines, will still remain voluntary for players. If they do participate, players can earn their offseason workout bonuses as stipulated in their contract. Teams can also provide up to $1,500 worth of workout equipment to players participating in the virtual workouts.
Teams are not required to hold this first part of the virtual offseason program, set to take place April 20 through May 15. In-person offseason workouts, which include on-field activities, are prohibited until team facilities are allowed to reopen.
When will that be?
According to NFL.com, "a memo sent to teams Monday makes clear that as long as even one facility is not allowed to reopen by local guidelines, no NFL team facilities will be allowed to reopen, to maintain competitive equity." This means that even though social distancing varies from state to state, the league will only reopen facilities when every team can do so safely. A virtual offseason program allows all teams to participate while facilities remain closed.
If team facilities have not reopened during the offseason workout program, teams also have the option of holding a mandatory virtual minicamp for veteran players, which would include online classroom instruction and virtual workouts.
The offseason workout program must end for all teams by June 26.