With reports of the league preparing for a possible shortened league year, as they should have contingency plans, could it be possible the league is "tuning up" for a look ahead at an 18-game schedule?
As it stands right now, the NFL season is about 7 weeks out from when training camp typically begins, around the end of July. We'll say July 28th would be it's normal start time, since it's a Thursday and last year the Jacksonville Jaguars began camp on July 29th, also a Thursday. Per the reports of the NFL prepping for a possible 8-game season, (I assume as a last resort) they'd prefer to have around five weeks for free agency, training camp, and the preseason.
What if the NFL is really planning for a "dry run" so to speak of a shortened preseason in preparation for an 18-game schedule, which I do believe is going to happen sometime in the near future? Despite the fact that the NFL constantly says fan support shows that fans want an 18-game schedule, I personally believe it's not more regular season games fans desire, but really less preseason games.
With the likelihood of a shortened off-season on the horizon, barring a possible but unlikely deal stricken before July, we could very well end up with only 2 preseason games. I think ideally, the NFL would like to have five weeks for free agency and training camp, and then two preseason games prior to the start of the season. If it's successful, it could pave the way for an 18-game season, with fan support.
It would almost be like a dirty little trick by the NFL. If they can get only two preseason games now, there's no way they'll try to add them back next season. Instead, they'll vie for two more regular season games. At that time, it should actually have the fan support they claim it does now (which I don't believe), and with the power of fantasy football, it could be a real possibility. Fans pay for 10 home games as is, I'm not sure how many would complain about paying for only 1 preseason game now, instead of two.
For the NFL to meet this goal however, a deal would need to be done by the week of July 18th-23rd. This would allow for five weeks of free agency and training camp with two preseason games and the ability of the season to start on schedule, on September 11th.