Head coach Mike McCarthy (center) and general manger Ted Thompson (right) watch workout during the Green Bay Packers rookie orientation weekend. OTAs and minicamps will be held over the next month, with some sessions open to the public (weather permitting) Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Packers begin month of OTAs and minicamps next week

Starting next week, the Green Bay Packers will begin their organized team activities (OTAs) which will include the entire team – in fact, some of those sessions will be open to the public, so if you’re anywhere near Green Bay, you can sit in and watch (weather permitting).

Here are the OTA and minicamp schedules that are upcoming for the Packers over the next month:

May 20-22: Organized Team Activities
May 27-29: Organized Team Activities
June 4-6: Mandatory Minicamp
June 11-14: Organized Team Activities

The practices that will be open to the public are as follows:

• May 21 (11:30 CDT)
• May 28 (11:30 CDT)
• June 4
• June 5
• June 11 (11:30 CDT)

A schedule of all upcoming offseason workouts for all 32 teams are included here.

But just what are the OTAs?

Organized Team Activities are voluntary, as per the newest collective bargaining agreement signed two years ago between the players union and the owners. On-field coaching instruction is allowed during OTAs, but live contact is not allowed … according to the CBA, “contact” includes “blocking, tackling, pass rushing [and] bump-and­-run …”

Offense against defense team drills may be conducted, such as 11-on-11 drills. In addition special teams practice is also allowed. No one-on-one, such as a receiver versus a defensive back, is allowed.

Even more specifically, players are allowed only two hours of practice time on the field, with no more than six hours of total work in a given day.

As per league rules, the on-field offseason workouts are recorded and the recordings must be kept on file until 30 days after the start of the regular season.  Player union representatives have the right to watch a limited number of workouts in-person during the offseason and could request practice video from a club if a complaint is filed.

If any violations are alleged, the league and union will attempt to reach a solution, but if none result from negotiations,  then an independent arbitrator will be brought in to reach a ruling.

If there are any violations, fines could be levied by the commissioner. The head coach could be fined up to $100,000 for an initial violation and the franchise can be slapped with a fine as high as $250,000. The commissioner, however, can also waive the fine or call for a smaller penalty depending on the violation.

If a team is alleged to have two violations in the same year, that franchise will lose its fourth-round pick in the next draft and will be docked another week of OTAs, per the CBA.

Wow, specifics, specifics.

Such is the landscape of the new NFL under the newest collective bargaining agreement, which runs for another seven years.

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