It was a hot topic in 2021. It’s apparently not an issue at all in 2022. The more accurate is that it’s happening behind the scenes this year.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the very public effort by players to push back against voluntary offseason workouts in 2021 has become a more subtle play in 2022. Last year’s goal was to encourage players to set a precedent and to realize the leverage they have. This year, the hope is to get some teams to make alterations to the workout schedule without it becoming a major public issue.
Several teams have expressed a willingness to do that this year. The Colts, Bengals, Cardinals, and Rams are among those that have agreed to reduce the duration and/or intensity of offseason workouts.
More may follow suit. It could be that, without the players taking a stand, teams will be less inclined to bend.
Last year, Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady became one of the most prominent voices opposing participation in voluntary workouts. Tampa Bay G.M. Jason Licht was asked about Brady’s anticipated participation in this year’s offseason program. Licht’s answer was largely a non-answer.
“Constant communication, he and Todd [Bowles] have had on that,” Licht told reporters. “It’s voluntary right now. He’s going into his 23rd season — he obviously knows how to take care of himself. During this voluntary portion, I just know he and Todd have had several conversations about that. So, no worries whatsoever.”
Brady’s preparation won’t be an issue. It never is. But with a new head coach, it could made sense for Brady to be more involved than he was a year ago, in order to help everyone get on the same page as training camp begins.