According to reports, the NFLPA board voted unanimously to play zero preseason games.
NFL owners would love to see at least two preseason games get played. Of course they would. They want the local TV money.
There's another reason the owners want to see the games get played: If they don't happen as scheduled it will be apparent just how useless those games are in the first place.
Preseason games are the vestigial organs of the NFL. The yearly tradition of Steelers/Panthers in the preseason is like the appendix of the football schedule. It's okay if left alone, but removing it doesn't cause any real problems.
There will be expanded practice squads this year, and due to the social distancing policies being mulled by the NFL, the preseason rosters won't be able to have 90 players anyway.
Why do we need preseason? Certainly not to see who's going to make the team. Due to the expanded practice squads there won't be many players cut.
How about to get players ready for the regular season?
Even with a dress rehearsal in the third preseason game, the start of the NFL's regular season is typically sloppy. Will it be that different without players getting a quarter or a half of football under their belts? I don't think it will be discernible to the average fan.
College football teams are able to get ready for their seasons without playing any exhibition games. Spare me the "they open with the Little Sisters of the Poor" talk. In recent years, Alabama has opened against West Virginia, USC, Louisville, and Duke. WVU has recently played Virginia Tech, Missouri, and Tennessee in their season openers.
There's also a risk/reward element to all of this. Tampa Bay Ray's pitcher Blake Snell made it clear early in baseball's "negotiation" process that he'd pitch only for a big chunk of his pay. Exposure to the virus, in his mind, is worth it if he's able to benefit financially.
I'm sure NFL players view it the same way. It's one thing to potentially get exposed to Covid-19 in a regular season or playoff game. It's not worth the risk to get exposed to the virus in a game that's totally meaningless.
I imagine that owners are weary to eliminate the preseason entirely. Once the precedent is set, and it becomes totally obvious how silly these games are to begin with, they may never come back.