NFL minicamps are a more intense version of OTAs. That means that most of the differences between a minicamp and an OTA is just a matter of degree.
One of the biggest differences is that NFL minicamps are explicitly mandatory. While all but the most famous players would be wise to attend optional OTAs to maintain good standing with the team, minicamps require attendance.
Minicamps are also longer and more intense than OTAs. Both are limited by the current CBA in what activities can be performed and for how long, but minicamps consistently last longer throughout the day and are thus more arduous training sessions. The length of an OTA is relatively short.
Both minicamps and OTAs are part of Phase 3 of the offseason team schedule.
When Do NFL Minicamps Start?
Generally, NFL minicamps take place for a few days in the first 2-3 weeks of June.
Even though minicamps are a more advanced version of OTAs, there’s no guarantee that all of a team’s OTAs will be completed by the time a minicamp starts.
For instance, the Cowboys are scheduled to begin OTAs this year on May 22, and their minicamp will run June 6-8. However, the Cowboys will return to their OTA schedule afterward for three more days, from June 13-15.
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