The National Football League has reshaped its offseason in the past few years with some minor tweaks. Well it now looks like the NFL is going to reshape the entire offseason.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the NFL and NFLPA are close to a deal that would make major changes to the offseason.
The major aspect to it is the Draft. For many years now the NFL Draft has been held in April. That is about to change as the event is going to be push back to May. This change would be enacted for the 2014 NFL Draft.
The problem with this is in regards to rookies.
Rookies are already behind the eight ball as they cannot start studying playbooks until they are drafted. The change would reduce the amount of time rookies have to study from three to two months.
Another side effect from this change will be that teams will be even more cautious with rookies. Teams are cautious with rookies as they want to make sure they have the playbook down that way they won’t make a costly mistake. Thus, the move gives veterans a clear edge over rookies.
The other major change is to the start of the league year.
Currently, the Combine is held in late February with the league year starting in the middle of March. The change would have the league year starting before the Combine.
This move does two different things as it eliminates tampering at the Combine and it would give scouts more time to scrutinize certain players at the Combine since it would give a team a better sense of what its needs are.
The Combine for years has served as a free agency market place where agents can go team to team to see if they are interested in his client. The reason is that all of the teams and most of their front office are there at the Combine to scout the top eligible draft prospects. The rule change eliminates this all together since free agency would now open before the Combine.
With Free Agency opening up before the Combine, teams will know what their needs are as no team can fill them all via Free Agency. This will give teams the ability to narrow their focus more on certain players as in the past teams didn’t know exactly what they were going to need until after the Combine since Free Agency opened latter.
Organized team activities are going to be affected as well. Teams don’t start these until after the Draft that way they can get rookies in and help them get caught up. That means OTA’s won’t be finished until the end of June.