Coronavirus could delay Tom Brady contract, other NFL free agent deals

NFL facilities are closed through at least March 31

Tom Brady and other NFL free agents may have to wait longer than expected for final approval on their contracts due to the coronavirus outbreak’s ongoing effects on the NFL’s offseason operations.

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NFL free agency is set to formally begin on Wednesday when the 2020 league year kicks off at 4 p.m. ET. However, since NFL officials have banned travel and other team operations as a precautionary response to coronavirus, players won’t be able to actually sign their contracts in most cases. NFL facilities are closed through at least March 31.

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Additionally, NFL teams are largely unable to administer physicals to free agent players, unless they are willing to rely on physicians outside the team staffs. Standard procedures such as introductory press conferences are also on indefinite hold.

Brady was one of several NFL free agents to close deals in principal during the legal tampering window, which ran from Monday through Wednesday. The former New England Patriots quarterback finalized terms on a deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that is expected to pay him roughly $30 million per year.

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While teams are able to announce signings as soon as the league year begins, announcements may be put on hold due to the coronavirus-related complications, NFL Network reported.

NFL officials informed teams in a league-wide memo that signings could not be announced pending a physical. Teams need a finalized and fully approved contract before they can make announcements.

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The league also advised teams to include language in any trade agreements related to a failure to administer physical for impacted players by a certain date.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.