New CBA changes training camp rules to make reporting dates uniform


Carpe Diem

A new NFL collective bargaining agreement approved in March quietly has brought about new training-camp rules that will impact this summer.

Whereas teams used to be required to report to training camp 15 days before their preseason opener, 30 NFL teams now must report July 28, which is 47 or 48 days prior to the kickoff of the Week 1 regular-season opener, league sources said.

The 26 teams playing Sunday, Sept. 13, must report to camp 47 days before their opener, and the four teams scheduled to play Monday Sept. 14 must report 48 days prior to that game. The Chiefs and Texans, who are scheduled to kick off the season on Thursday Sept. 10, are required to report to camp the same 47 days in advance of the opener, which would be July 25.

This makes the training-camp reporting date more uniform across the league whereas in other years it used to be much more scattered, with teams reporting on various days over a weeklong period. There even used to be business departments that would push its teams to start camp on a Wednesday so it could schedule their first padded practice four days later on a weekend, so as to best appeal to fans in attendance.

The types of practices that teams now are allowed to hold under the terms of the new CBA also will be different. After the rules of the first three days of practice are the same in the new CBA, days 4-6 are different.

Under the terms of the new CBA, players are allowed to practice full speed in "spiders and shells" on the fourth and fifth days of camp, but are not allowed to have a padded practice as they were in the old CBA. Day 6 in the new CBA is a mandatory day off before Day 7 is the first day in pads -- whereas it used to be day four in the old CBA.

Of course, the rules this year could change entirely, based on how the NFL and the NFLPA decide to handle procedures related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The league and PA still are engaged in discussions that could wind up changing the rules surrounding camp, delaying the start, eliminating some preseason games, and gradually trying to build up the players' workloads in a safe and orderly manner. No decisions have been made, conversations are ongoing, and teams are anxious to hear what the NFL and NFLPA decide.


I know they were talking about coming in 1-2 weeks early this year since COVID killed all the off-season workouts and players would need extra time to get in shape.