In an agreement with the NFLPA, the NFL has announced virtual OTAs, which begin on April 20th, next Monday. Teams won't be permitted to take the practice until every team has that freedom, which is largely out of the NFL's hands at this point, relying on state governments. They will allowed to give players materials, have virtual classroom sessions and players will be able to virtually meet the requirements for their workout bonuses in contracts.
This is a big deal for teams like the Cleveland Browns, because they will be able to give players playbooks and start teaching them the new schemes on both sides of the ball. Nothing replaces reps, but this eliminates some of the lag time from a mental standpoint that teams that had new coaching staffs or major roster overhaul occurring.
The Carolina Panthers and New York Giants are two other teams where this would play a big factor. The Dallas Cowboys were likely a major proponent as well. Everyone will be anticipating the ability to get on the field and work, but this at least allows the Browns to start implementing their systems.
And for tech savvy coaches who are smart with being able to utilize technology, they can be more creative with what they want to do in terms of class room opportunities. It also just allows some of these teams to feel more like teams and provides hope that football will be coming back at some point.
Last but not least, it makes having the NFL Draft, which is slated to take place from April 23rd to the 25th, more necessary. Up until this point, other than being on the calendar, there was nothing that made the NFL Draft necessary to take place. This now gives teams something to do with the players they are signing. They can at least give them playbooks and start getting them up to speed from a mental standpoint.
For a team like the Cincinnati Bengals, who are presumably drafting Joe Burrow out of LSU, it means Zac Taylor can start working with him immediately. That's important as everything has been slanted towards teams that weren't making big changes to their coaching staff or roster. And that will still likely be the case, but this at least gives teams making major changes this season a fighting change from a mental standpoint.