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All eyes on Tennessee for looming COVID-19 punishment

Mike Florio and Chris Simms look at what the NFL is trying to do to prevent COVID-19 from derailing the season and how hard the league may come down on the Titans for breaking protocol.

As the Titans continue to wrestle with an outbreak that may impact a second Tennessee regular-season game, when and if the Week Five contest against the Bills is played could be the least of the concerns in Nashville.

The other 31 NFL franchises are watching and waiting (and speculating) about the consequences the Titans may face for a variety of possible infractions, from violating pandemic protocols to potentially not sharing information about the outbreak on a timely basis to allowing players to work out last week when the facility was shut down.

As multiple sources have told PFT, the league is telling other teams that video footage from the Tennessee facility shows a blatant failure to wear face coverings. There’s also a question making the rounds as to whether a member of the coaching staff attending the off-site workout in which players engaged last week.

The league may not have the ability or the willingness to take action against players; however, other teams believe that the league will hit the organization hard. As noted yesterday, some expect “historic” punishment for the Titans.

It’s unclear what the league specifically will do. Primary options include fines, forfeiture of draft picks, and suspensions.

So what would be “historic” in this regard? Suspensions of coaches and/or executives for the rest of the season? Suspensions for a full calendar year? The removal of multiple first-round draft picks? An eight-figure fine?

At this point, no one knows what will happen. The thinking is that, whatever it is, it will happen soon. With the league intending to send a message to all other teams about the behavior that will and won’t be tolerated, this could be something that is announced by the end of the week.