Trae Waynes advised by agent not to do any football drills until deal is complete with Bengals

James Rapien

CINCINNATI — The Bengals are one of the many teams that haven't finalized any of their free agent contracts due to COVID-19. 

They agreed to a three-year, $42 million deal with cornerback Trae Waynes on St. Patrick's Day. Unfortunately, the 27-year-old hasn't signed his contract because players haven't been able to go to team facilities during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Bengals won't allow the team doctor to conduct player physicals at his private practice, which means none of their free agent deals have been finalized and they have yet to sign any of their draft picks. This isn't unique to Cincinnati, as many organizations have opted not to allow doctors to conduct player physicals away from team facilities.

“We regret the challenges that have arisen this year with processing contracts due to coronavirus. The Bengals are very excited about adding Trae to the roster and are confident that he will be a good player here," Bengals vice president Troy Blackburn told Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer. "Unfortunately issues relating to coronavirus have made contract execution matters harder than anyone wishes. Hopefully agreements can be reached soon between the NFL and the NFLPA that allow the season to get underway, at which point these issues go away.” 

Waynes's agent has told him to essentially eliminate any workouts that come with injury risk until the contract is made official. That includes one-on-one drills and on-field activities. 

“I’ve advised Trae not to do any football drills," agent Brian Murphy said. "Not to get out there on the field, certainly don’t do any live drills against other people. And my hope is that he’s following my advice.

“He signed a nice offseason contract to go to the Bengals, be the man in their secondary, make a major contribution, and so under ordinary circumstances, he’d be killing himself to get in the best shape possible. He did do all the Zoom calls. Obviously, there’s no physical activity there, and he’d really want to be in the best shape of life, so he can play the best football of his life. But because of the Bengals’ decision, he can’t do that."

Murphy sent TRX straps and workout plans to the clients that haven't finalized their free agent contracts. The hope is that they can stay in shape, even if they aren't running on the football field.

Waynes and his family moved to Cincinnati in May. If he and other veteran players aren't going through their normal offseason regimen, then there's a higher chance for injury later this month in training camp.

It's one of the many reasons why the NFL could cancel at least two preseason games to give players more time to get in football shape. 

“This is just adding another layer that doesn’t have to be there,” Murphy said. "They already have to be worried about COVID. Now, you get to training camp, I haven’t had any offseason workouts, and I really haven’t been able to train on my own. And now I legitimately have to go full speed? I don’t know if Trae’s concerned about that, but from his agent’s point of view, I’m very concerned.

“That’s a perfect storm for, knock on wood this doesn’t happen, season-ending injuries to occur.”

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