FRISCO - Phase One of the NFL's offseason program is underway as of Monday, and while more than half of the league's teams have followed the NFLPA's lead and are skipping the voluntary workouts due to safety concerns regarding the COVID pandemic, the Dallas Cowboys are "business as usual,'' one source tells CowboysSI.com from here inside The Star in Frisco.
That doesn't mean precautions aren't being taken. But it does mean Dallas' offseason workout program - which the Cowboys say is the NFL's best-attended - is moving forward.
Phase One of the NFL's usual program largely features in-person strength-and-conditioning work supervised by the appropriate coaching staff members and training personnel. That is part of the process now, with meetings with position coaches conducted on a virtual basis.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has stated he believes it is in his union members' best interest to sit out voluntary workouts this offseason. Smith, via ESPN: "I think what a lot of players have said that they've heard from their coaches is that they need to show up. We've known for years that this is a voluntary workout where a lot of coaches put their finger on the scale and, while they call it voluntary, they expect players to show up.
"I think that what you're seeing now is for the first-time players exercising their voice ... to say 'no.''
There are financial ramifications for players who make that choice. In the case of the Cowboys, in addition to the importance of the workouts, bonding and other benefits, workout bonuses are part of many players' contracts. Specific to Dallas: Missing most of the workouts would mean a forfeiture of $500,000 each for Amari Cooper, La'el Collins, Ezekiel Elliott, DeMarcus Lawrence, Zack Martin, Dak Prescott, Jaylon Smith and Tyron Smith.