The NFL isn’t ready to change its offseason schedule. That means free agency is still set to begin on March 18th.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the NFL has no plans to shift the start of its new league year.
NFL said it has "no plans to move the start of the league year."
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 12, 2020
That means that the offseason is expected to go according to plan, for now. Free agency is still going to start on March 18.
Teams don’t have to meet with players or agents to work out a free-agent contract. Most of that work is done over the phone, so the NFL’s willingness to stay on schedule early in the offseason is reasonable.
We shouldn’t expect that to continue for long though. The NFL has implemented a number of other changes that will affect April’s draft. Thus, it’s hard to see the NFL deciding to hold the draft while preventing teams from having private meetings with prospects.
It makes the whole process incredibly difficult. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the NFL push the draft back if the coronavirus pandemic continues into late April, which is currently expected.
If the league chooses not to, then teams will be forced to make selections with incomplete information. Considering the draft is already a crapshoot, a lack of information should be considered a death sentence.
The NFL will likely have no choice but to shift some of its offseason calendar. The only question is how long they choose to wait.
The longer they sit on this, the more uncertainty for teams and prospects. Nobody should want that.