The NFL and NFLPA are closing in a deal that would make significant alterations to the league calender over the next three years, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports.
According to the report, the union is close to signing off on a deal allowing the league to move the start date of the new league year to before the annual scouting combine in Indianapolis. Historically, the new league year has begun in early-to-mid March, nearly two weeks after the final day of the combine.
An even bigger change, and one that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell does not need union approval for, is pushing the date of the annual NFL draft from late April to May. While the collective bargaining agreement allows for the commissioner to set the date at his or her discretion, Goodell would like to the NFLPA's approval before taking that step.
In March, Albert Breer of the NFL Network reported that the NFL had sent a proposal to the NFLPA that would have pushed the combine back to March, the start of free agency to April and the draft to May. The period after the Super Bowl would focus on regional combines with the goal being that those events would increase the interest and viewership of the national combine in Indianapolis.
Veteran players, and their agents, were not too keen on the idea of delaying free agency until April since that financial frenzy is essentially their Super Bowl. Starting free agency earlier would be good news for veterans (and their agents), which should make it easier for the NFLPA to sign off on date changes for the combine and draft.