Coronavirus Making It Hard For NFL Teams To Announce Free Agents, Trades

If you’re a New England Patriots fan, don’t read too much into the fact that neither the Tampa Bay Buccaneers nor Tom Brady have officially announced they’re joining forces yet.

In fact, this year’s NFL free agency period, which kicked off Wednesday, won’t see a slew of official signing announcements at 4 p.m. ET at all.

That’s because of a memo the league sent to teams Tuesday.

The memo prohibits teams from announcing they have acquired a player via free agency or trade pending a physical, per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network.

With team facilities closed until March 31 amid the coronavirus pandemic, teams are unable to bring these players in for the physicals.

According to NFL’s Mike Tannenbaum, physicals for new players are being handled in two different ways.

One way is that players will sign contracts, with payments being conditioned on a future physical. The other is that the player and club agreeing to conduct the physical by a neutral physician near the player’s home.

In order for the new calendar year to kick-off on schedule, this is the way it had to be. It’s just another challenge that COVID-19 has placed upon sports leagues around the country.

Patriots Free Agency Live: Keeping Tabs On New England Rumors, Signings

Thumbnail photo via Trevor Ruszkowski/USA TODAY Sports Images

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