Saints Coach Sean Payton Thinks Free Agency Will Be Pushed Back

The NFL has been adamant in its plans to begin 2020 free agency this week. Saints head coach Sean Payton is not too sure of that.

Payton believes the NFL league year, which starts Wednesday, will be pushed back due to coronavirus, he said in an interview with TVG on Saturday.

“Most immediately, the start of our league year, which is due to be this Wednesday, free agency begins, that’s gonna be, I think, pushed back.”

Multiple NFL team officials told ESPN’s Adam Schefter they remain skeptical the league will be able to open free agency this week, not only because of all that goes into the signing period but because of the more pressing issues facing the country. 

Mark Maske of the Washington Post reported Saturday night that the NFL and NFLPA are expected to be in contact Sunday to determine next steps for the offseason, including a potential delay in free agency and offseason programs. NFLPA voting on the new proposed CBA closes at 11:59 pm ET on Saturday. The results are expected as early as Sunday morning.

As for the NFL draft, Payton said he doesn’t know if the dates — April 23-25 — would be moved, but he believes the way it takes place will look different.

“Certainly the format’s going to change, relative to what they’re used to,” Payton said. “Like everyone else around the country, not only that, around the world, we’re all making the necessary changes and really prioritizing what’s most important — everyone’s health and well-being.

The NFL has said it still intends to hold the 2020 draft in Vegas from, although there’s already been speculation about a change in venue, if not a total re-distribution of the event.

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