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NFL schedule release will happen later than ever this year

Mike Florio and Chris Simms analyze whether the Houston Texans should look to trade Deshaun Watson to the New York Jets in a package that includes the No. 2 draft pick, to select Zach Wilson or Trevor Lawrence.

Last year, the NFL released the regular-season schedule on May 7. This year, it’ll happen even later than that.

Via Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal, the NFL says that it currently is targeting the second week of May for the 2021 schedule release. As Fischer notes, that would make it the latest schedule release in league history.

The delay traces to the creation of a 17-game season -- and uncertainties regarding attendance in the second year post-pandemic.

The NFL and its teams are optimistic that stadiums will be full this year. Political realities in some states could complicate that objective. Regardless, as the vaccines are distributed and (hopefully) as responsible and considerate mask wearing continues, the infections and illnesses will continue to subside.

The league’s schedule release typically dominates all sports news, even though the basic “who” and “where” of the schedule is known. The addition of the “when” becomes fascinating for football fans everywhere. We now roughly know when the “when” will come.