The NFL’s 32 team owners, as well as dozens of coaches and executives, will convene this week in Phoenix for the NFL Annual Meeting. Here’s a snapshot of what to expect from the event.
LAS VEGAS RAIDERS?
The owners will vote Monday afternoon on the Oakland Raiders’ proposed move to Las Vegas, which would make them the first NFL team to call the gambling capital of the world home. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the move basically is a done deal.
The Raiders would be the second AFC West team to approve a relocation this offseason, as the Chargers already have left San Diego for Los Angeles.
PROPOSALS ON THE TABLE
Though the Raiders’ desire to leave Oakland hanging for the second time in the franchise’s history is this week’s most noteworthy vote, it’s far from the only one. The league’s owners also will vote on 15 playing-rule proposals, six bylaw proposals and three resolution proposals, with 24 of 32 votes needed to pass each.
The Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks were the only teams to propose rule changes this year, with the rest coming from the NFL’s competition committee.
These proposals include:
— Revamping the instant replay system by moving the process from the officials on the field to the NFL’s headquarters in New York. This would be similar to how video reviews are handled in the NBA and the NHL.
— Banning defensive players from leaping over the line to block field-goal or extra-point attempts — a tactic that New England’s Jamie Collins and Shea McClellin have successfully employed in recent years.
— Forcing teams to begin a drive at their own 20-yard line if the opposing kicker boots the kickoff through the uprights. Teams currently begin at the 25-yard line following a touchback on a kickoff, meaning a strong-legged kicker would have the chance to win 5 yards of field position for his squad under this proposal.
— Allowing teams to opt out of Thursday night “Color Rush” to avoid wearing ugly uniforms. Yes, this is a real proposal, and we can’t say we disagree.
— Another uni-related proposal would ditch the rule limiting teams to one helmet color, which would allow teams such as the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers to revive their throwback uniforms.
NO BILL AT BREAKFAST
Patriots coach Bill Belichick will skip the annual coaches breakfast Tuesday morning to continue his preparation for the 2017 NFL Draft and thus will not be available to speak with reporters. Several schools, including Florida and Texas, have pro days scheduled for that day.
Belichick has yet to address the media since New England added Stephon Gilmore, Rex Burkhead and Lawrence Guy in free agency and swung trades for Brandin Cooks, Kony Ealy and Dwayne Allen. We likely will not hear from the coach until draft night next month.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft is scheduled to meet with reporters Monday afternoon, however, and most of the league’s coaches will attend the breakfast, which should shed some light on some on New England’s surprisingly active offseason.
WHEELING AND DEALING
Much like the NFL Scouting Combine, the Annual Meeting is a prime opportunity for teams to discuss potential trades.
Will the Cleveland Browns make one final push to pry Jimmy Garoppolo away from New England? Will the Patriots and New Orleans Saints finally consummate the Malcolm Butler deal that’s been rumored for weeks? Those are just two of the many names to monitor around the league.
Thumbnail photo via Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports Images
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