New England Patriots Lose Two Days of Organized Team Activities Due to NFL Offseason Rules Violation
According to Mike Reiss of ESPN, the NFL's offseason regulations were breached by the New England Patriots, resulting in the loss of two days of scheduled team activities this spring. The violation is not known at this time, but it has cost the team two days of voluntary organized team activities. The Patriots cancelled their first open OTA practice scheduled for Thursday, giving no explanation for the cancellation. Instead, the first open OTA will now be scheduled for next Wednesday, May 31. In recent years, numerous NFL teams have been penalized by the league for violating offseason rules, and the Patriots are not the only ones. Reiss stated that the NFL has taken disciplinary action against the Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, and Seattle Seahawks for committing such violations.
The Players' Association keeps a close eye on the NFL's consistent enforcement of penalties for rule infractions in recent years. During 2021, the Dallas Cowboys had to give up a week of their offseason OTAs, and the San Francisco 49ers were required by the league to end their OTA practices a week early. The most recent case of the Patriots breaking league rules came in the 2019 season when they were caught taping the Cincinnati Bengals’ sideline a week prior to facing them. After conducting an NFL investigation, the Patriots were penalized with the loss of a third-round pick.
This week, the Patriots initiated their organized team activities (OTAs) on the rear fields of Gillette Stadium located in Foxborough, Mass. The media is set to join on Thursday morning for the first time. Despite being mostly educational environments, the true competition does not commence until the training camp intensifies. However, there is still a wealth of knowledge to be acquired in Foxborough during the upcoming weeks. After the initial emphasis on building strength and improving conditioning, teams are now allowed to engage in non-padded football, including 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and full team 11-on-11s for the next four weeks. This will culminate in a mandatory minicamp lasting three days, from June 12-14.
Replacing Devin McCourty along the backend will be no easy task, and likely will take multiple players. The Patriots have massive shoes to fill on the back end of their defense, following Devin McCourty’s retirement. It appears that the solution to not acquiring any safeties during the offseason will be found within the organization. The Patriots have a stroke of luck as they have the talented trio of Kyle Dugger, Jabrill Peppers, and Adrian Phillips returning as their safeties. Entering his third year with the club, Joshuah Bledsoe is still a contender in the mix for the safety position, along with potential factors Jalen Mills and Myles Bryant.
In terms of the violation, it is unclear what rule the Patriots broke specifically. Lost OTAs are usually due to some sort of practice violation. The practice regulations in the NFL CBA are well-defined, specifying the frequency, duration, and intensity of practice sessions that teams can undertake. For instance, last year the Cowboys lost practices and head coach Mike McCarthy received a $100,000 fine for holding practices “deemed too physical by the NFL.” The Patriots were originally scheduled to hold the standard 13 practices this spring – 10 days of OTAs and three days of mandatory minicamp. Their ability to engage in optional OTAs prior to minicamp (June 12-14) has now been restricted to only eight days due to the violation.
In the past, the Patriots have faced penalties for violating league regulations. In recent seasons, the Cowboys (2021, 2022), Bears (2022), Commanders (2022), Texans (2022), 49ers (2021), Jaguars (2021), Ravens (2018) and Seahawks (2016) have all been penalized for violations of offseason rules. Though the Patriots are no strangers to finding themselves in the crosshairs of the NFL under Belichick, this situation doesn't rise to the level of previous infractions like Deflategate and Spygate.
0. “Green Bay Packers 2023 Opponent Punished For Cheating (Breaking)” Wisconsin Sports Heroics, 25 May. 2023, https://wisportsheroics.com/green-bay-packers-new-england-patriots-cheating
1. “Patriots cancel first open OTAs practice a day before event” Patriots Wire, 24 May. 2023, https://patriotswire.usatoday.com/2023/05/24/patriots-cancel-first-open-practice-day-before-event/
2. “NFL Rumors: Patriots lose two days of OTAs due to violation of offseason rules” Yahoo Sports, 25 May. 2023, https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl-rumors-patriots-lose-two-012800793.html
3. “Patriots lose two OTA sessions due to offseason rules violation, ESPN reports” WCVB Boston, 25 May. 2023, https://www.wcvb.com/article/patriots-lose-two-ota-sessions-rules-violation/43995793
4. “New England Patriots docked two OTA workouts for violating offseason rules, per report” USA TODAY, 25 May. 2023, https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/patriots/2023/05/24/new-england-patriots-lose-two-ota-workouts-for-rules-violation/70255044007/
5. “REPORT: Patriots docked practice days for offseason violation” ClutchPoints, 25 May. 2023, https://clutchpoints.com/patriots-news-new-england-reportedly-docked-practice-days-for-offseason-violation
6. “The biggest storylines as Patriots OTAs begin” The Union Leader, 24 May. 2023, https://www.unionleader.com/the-biggest-storylines-as-patriots-otas-begin/article_5effc465-a3cc-51d2-8d56-1c8f8b628efc.html
7. “Patriots OTA Preview: Eight Things to Watch at Pats First Open Spring Practice” Patriots.com, 24 May. 2023, https://www.patriots.com/news/patriots-ota-preview-eight-things-to-watch-at-pats-first-open-spring-practice
8. “Patriots OTAs, minicamp: 6 things to watch” Pats Pulpit, 23 May. 2023, https://www.patspulpit.com/2023/5/23/23731530/6-things-to-watch-patriots-otas-minicamp
9. “8 storylines to watch for during Patriots OTAs and Minicamp” 98.5 The Sports Hub, 22 May. 2023, https://985thesportshub.com/listicle/what-to-watch-for-during-patriots-otas-and-minicamp/
10. “Report: Patriots lose 2 OTAs for violating NFL offseason rules” Yahoo Sports, 25 May. 2023, https://sports.yahoo.com/report-patriots-lose-2-otas-for-violating-nfl-offseason-rules-013954154.html
11. “NFL docks Patriots two OTA practices for ‘violation of offseason rules'” 98.5 The Sports Hub, 25 May. 2023, https://985thesportshub.com/listicle/nfl-docks-patriots-two-ota-practices-for-violation-of-offseason-rules/
12. “Patriots lose two days of OTAs for violating offseason rules” NFL.com, 25 May. 2023, https://www.nfl.com/news/patriots-lose-two-days-of-otas-for-violating-offseason-rules
13. “Patriots docked two OTA practices after violating NFL rules” Pats Pulpit, 25 May. 2023, https://www.patspulpit.com/2023/5/24/23736900/patriots-docked-two-ota-practices-violating-nfl-rules
14. “Patriots lose two OTA sessions after violating NFL offseason rules, per report” CBS Sports, 25 May. 2023, https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/patriots-lose-two-ota-sessions-after-violating-nfl-offseason-rules-per-report/