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NFL Players Association explores the possibility of a drastically revamped offseason program

The NFL Players Association has some ideas for changing up the offseason program. The union is exploring a potentially seismic shift in the structure and duration of workouts that currently run from April into June.

Per multiple sources, the NFLPA is exploring the possibility of attempting a full overhaul of the offseason program. The idea would be to replace the current cluster of workouts with a pre-training camp series of sessions aimed at getting the players ready for the season.

For instance, the existing series of phases and OTAs and minicamps that are followed by six weeks of down time could be swapped for four weeks before training camp. That would give players a lot more time off, and it would potentially make them just as ready for camp, since they'd go straight from the pre-training camp workouts into camp.

It's not something the union is planning to attempt to negotiate with the league in the short term. Again, it's exploratory for now. The challenge will be to get the league to agree to something like this. It possibly could be secured at the bargaining table in exchange for something the NFL really wants (like an eighteenth regular-season game). Alternatively, it's the kind of thing that could be obtained only through a strike.

One strategy that won't work, because they've tried it, is getting players to skip the voluntary portion of the offseason program. Too many players who want to migrate from the 90-man roster to the 53-man final team will show up even if the union urges them not to, because working when others aren't will give them a chance to win a job.

Another possibility would be for quarterbacks to band together and push for change. While most quarterbacks are company men (until they need something from the union), a joint refusal to gather teammates for unofficial throwing sessions could get the league's attention.

That said, it would have to be universal. If only one player who perceives a chance to get an edge while working while competitors don't break ranks, it all falls apart.

So, no, it won't be easy. But at least the union has an idea that potentially could gain some traction and, at some point, become positive change.