How COVID-19 affects reporting on new free agents and signings

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The NFL's new league year began Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET. Before that, you likely saw a flood of reports placing players on new teams. But like so many other things in the world, this free agency period has been altered by the outbreak of COVID-19.

While trades and signings can be agreed upon in principle, deals are not official until a player undergoes a physical exam with the acquiring team.

New NFL policy prohibits players from entering team facilities until March 31 at the earliest. That means teams like the Panthers can't currently conduct in-house physicals with new players they have agreed to sign. The league did give teams an option to use a neutral physician in the player's current location.

The NFL has also prohibited clubs from announcing that they have "agreed to terms" with free agents or trade acquisitions until a contract has been signed, and in most cases, that won't happen until a player passes a physical. Therefore, there will be a delay in the news you've read about over the past couple days becoming official.

Our digital platforms will announce signings and roster changes as soon as league rules permit.