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Coronavirus precautions lead to NFL reducing roster, cancelling preseason

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NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Miami Dolphins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The first four games on the Miami Dolphins’ 2020 schedule have been cancelled, according to multiple media reports. Of course, those are the four preseason games so it will not impact the games that lead to the playoffs. The NFL and NFL Players Association have been negotiating exactly how the league will operate during training camp and throughout the season to mitigate the risks of the COVID-19 coronavirus, with the players union long pushing for a cancellation of the preseason.

The league had previously cancelled two of the four tune-up games.

Also agreed upon on Tuesday was daily coronavirus testing throughout the first two weeks of training camp and a roster limit moved from 90 players down to 80. The daily testing requirement would be reevaluated after the first two weeks, with the frequency reduced if less than five percent of the tests are returning as positive.

As for the roster limit, the Miami Dolphins currently have 87 players on their roster. They will have to release six (if defensive tackle/guard Durval Queiroz Neto’s roster exemption continues with the new limit) or seven players prior to veterans reporting to camp next week. The Dolphins’ rookies are expected to report to the team’s Davie, Florida training facilities on Thursday.

The NFL and NFLPA still need to come to an agreement on several items, including an extended acclimation period as players return to work without having had the normal offseason workout periods, specifics of the stipend for lost games and how the opt-out would work, and future money issues, including salary cap impacts, caused if the league has to play in front of limited or no fans this season.