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Kyle Shanahan Gets Another Six-Year Deal, Player COVID-19 Cases Shouldn't Be Surprises

Why the 49ers were smart to reward their head coach, why it shouldn't come as a surprise when NFL players test positive for COVID-19, details from the NFLPA's conference call with agents and more notes from around the league.

Here we go with Monday's afternoon notes …


• Six-year contracts are rare for NFL coaches, and now Kyle Shanahan has gotten two of them—one upon his hire in 2017, and sources confirmed he got another today (as first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter). And it’s fair to say that he’s worth every penny. I don’t think, reasonably, there are a half dozen coaches you’d take over Shanahan in the league right now, he’s only 40 and that organization is really humming. So it made sense for the Niners to take care of him now. I don’t know, but I’d guess he’s in the NFL coaches’ eight-figure club (make $10 million per year or more), which is occupied by New England’s Bill Belichick, New Orleans’s Sean Payton, Kansas City’s Andy Reid, Baltimore’s John Harbaugh, Seattle's Pete Carroll and Las Vegas’s Jon Gruden. And I don't know for sure, but I'd venture a strong guess that Rams coach Sean McVay is in the club too, with a deal right around Shanahan's.

• The revelation of Ezekiel Elliott’s COVID-19 case (h/t to my buddy Ian Rapoport on the news) should surprise no one. And that has nothing to do with Elliott in particular. News of positive tests for NFL players was coming, and we all knew that. Stars weren’t going to magically be immune, and Elliott and Von Miller can attest to that. What we don’t know is how such cases will be handled once teams get into camp—and specifically how individual players testing positive or larger outbreaks in groups will be quarantined. But based on the recommendations from the NFL/NFLPA joint committee on health and safety thus far, you can bet the guidelines will be fairly strict. Initial recommendations from the joint committee advocated for a period with limits on the number of players in the building, during which testing and physicals would take place, then a three-week strength-and-conditioning/acclimation period before the helmets would go on. So it’s fair to surmise that whatever suggestion the joint committee gives the players and league on quarantining, it will be detailed and strict.

• Both outbreaks in the news Monday (Dallas and Houston) were small on the surface, but I’m told that a lot of Texans players are getting tested just in case—contact tracing is a big piece to the puzzle in containing the disease. Remember, a lot of players and team officials attended the George Floyd funeral in Houston last week.

• As a lot of you know by now, the NFLPA had a conference call with agents to discuss all of this on Monday afternoon. Here, to me, is the headline quote, as delivered from NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith to the agents: "The business of football is a perfect storm for transmission of this virus." NFLPA medical director Thom Mayer had driven home the seriousness of the situation earlier in the call, telling the group: "You can't fit the virus into football, you have to fit football into the virus. This is a badass virus. … This is a contact disease in a contact sport."

• There were hints in there too, on how testing will work. Mayer told the agents to expect players to be tested every three days or so, as the union tried to hammer home the seriousness of the situation. It was also mentioned how being a great athlete doesn’t shield a person (“Look at the outbreaks in the military,” Mayer said. “Being young and healthy does not make them immune.”) and that more answers were expected on how and when camp would be conducted in the “next 30 days or so.”

• Among the other important notes coming from the call was the expected $3 billion revenue shortfall that’s expected if the NFL season is played without fans, which matches what most teams expected—local revenue losses averaging out at around $100 million per team. I’d add that it seems unlikely the season will be played completely without fans. But the NFL and NFLPA do have to discuss the possibility of it, and come up with a plan for dealing with the losses, which would impact the 2021 cap (and with the sides likely to borrow from future years to limit any drop in the cap, caps in 2022 and ’23 possibly too).

• Comments on Twitter from Oklahoma State dynamo Chuba Hubbard—he criticized Cowboys coach Mike Gundy for wearing an OAN shirt, and said things needed to change if he ever plays there again—sure got the attention of NFL folks. And some wondered if Hubbard might try to push his way into the supplemental draft (by rule, he wouldn’t be eligible for it, since he hasn’t lost his college eligibility), or at least those guys did before Hubbard and Gundy put out a joint video later Monday. An absolute burner who’s still relatively new to football (“fast as s—t,” is how one evaluator described him on Monday), and as such a little straight-line-ish as a runner, Hubbard likely would’ve gone somewhere in the second round, but behind the top backs, if he’d declared earlier this year.

• I’m not surprised in the least that Falcons coach Dan Quinn would be willing to protest with his players. And his voice carries a lot of weight—as readers of the MMQB column know, there are few coaches more connected to the military than Quinn is.

• I really hope we get to watch Cam Newton play football in the fall, and the video that he got out there on social media is an encouraging sign on where he is physically. That said, I don’t think there was a huge question as to whether Newton was healthy or not now. The question is more so whether he can stay healthy. And to get a comfort level with that, teams want to have their own doctors get their hands on his right shoulder and left foot, something that, for obvious reasons, they haven’t been able to arrange for this offseason.

• Eagles G Brandon Brooks tore his Achilles during a rehab session at the team facility on Monday, and that's a really bad blow for the defending NFC East champs. And that it's an Achilles is interesting, in that his injury is the type that spiked during the 2011 lockout season, when players lost their entire spring, as has been the case this year.

Careful, Lamar Jackson, or you’ll give Harbaugh and GM Eric DeCosta a heart attack!

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