NFL teams reportedly are adjusting contract language to protect themselves against the spreading coronavirus, leaving many deals unannounced as players await physical examinations.
Coronavirus-related provisions are being placed in free-agent contracts, stating a failed physical will result in forfeited signing bonus money, ESPN reported Thursday.
Travel delays and logistics related to the COVID-19 pandemic have prevented many players from undergoing physicals, the report said, as teams have been forced to shut down their facilities and operations indefinitely.
Per an example cited in the ESPN report, “If a player signs a three-year, $30-million contract with a $10 million signing bonus this week…but fails a physical in June, he could lose the $10 million and be bound to a three-year, $20-million deal, potentially.”
It is unclear how many NFL teams are taking this stance in negotiations, but the report said that “several sources have encountered the provision when finalizing contracts over the past two days.”
The NFL also has given teams the option to conduct physicals with an independent doctor; Tom Brady was slated to undergo a physical in New York Thursday before finalizing his expected deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.