There had been some buzz that the NFL's new league year would be pushed back due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
But after careful consideration, the NFL is going ahead with the scheduled start of the league year.
According to multiple reports, the NFL sent out a memo advising teams that it would be business as usual for the upcoming week.
And as NFL Network's Bert Breer laid out on Twitter, that means that free agency will effectively begin at 12 p.m. on Monday when the legal tampering window opens.
The NFL sent a memo to teams informing them that league business this week will go forward as scheduled. So ...
• Monday, 11:59 a.m. ET: Deadline for franchise/transition tags.
• Monday, 12:00 p.m. ET: Legal tampering window opens.
• Wednesday, 4 p.m. ET: League Year begins.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 15, 2020
Considering that free agency can largely be done via phone and video conference, this does make some sense. However, the league will have to navigate physical examinations for the players that sign, so it will be interesting to see if they'll postpone physicals or find some other alternative.
For the New England Patriots, this will mean a quicker resolution to the Tom Brady question that has been hanging over their head for quite some time. The free-agent quarterback is expected to make his final decision in the early stages of free agency. NBC Sports' Chris Simms believes that the Patriots are one of two teams still in the mix for his services.
As for the 2020 NFL Draft, that event is still in question. Because of the nature of the draft -- large crowds congregating in public spaces -- the league will likely be in wait-and-see mode on that for some time. They could opt to push that back or may ultimately have to bar fans from attending depending on the state of the pandemic at that point in time.