Image Credit: Sky Sports
NFL training camps are opening in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic.
In addition to the lengthy safety measures that have to be taken to try and get the league through the season without a massive outbreak occurring, there will definitely be a slight talent decline as so far more than 60 NFL players have announced respective decisions to not play amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest being Dolphins wide receivers Albert Wilson and Allen Hurts, according to ESPN
— Pro Football Rumors (@pfrumors) August 6, 2020
The New England Patriots have been hit especially hard with LB Dont’a Hightower, FB Dan Vitale, RB Brandon Bolden, OL Najee Toran, WR Marqise Lee, S Patrick Chung and TE Matt LaCosse all opting out for various reasons.
Jets linebacker C.J. Mosely and New York Giants starting left tackle Nate Solder are among the bigger names choosing not to participate in the 2020 NFL season.
Tre’ Davious White, a 25-year-old budding corner for the Buffalo Bills is also deliberating his opt-out rights and has had to defend his decision against some misplaced fan backlash.
Crazy that me choosing my family’s wellbeing over a game comes with so called fans attacking and questioning me and saying I’m selfish. No you guys are selfish for thinking that football is bigger than life. Oh by the way my girl’s grandfather passed from COVID. U understand now?
— Tre'Davious White (@TakeAwayTre_) August 6, 2020
Opt Out Packages
“Under the amended collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and NFL Players Association, agreed to on July 24, players have the choice to opt out of the 2020 NFL season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If a player wishes to opt out, he must provide his club with written notification by today (August 6 at 4 p.m. ET.
To be designated a voluntary opt-out, a player must be under contract or subject to a tender. The player’s contract will toll and all provisions of that contract for the tolled year will be applicable the following season; however, he will not receive an accrued season. The player will be eligible for a stipend of $150,000 to be treated as a salary advance against his tolled contract; an undrafted free agent, however, is not eligible for the stipend.
To be designated a higher-risk opt-out, a player must have a diagnosis reflected in their medical records of at least one of the following factors, which are based upon a modified list of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) risk factors list that includes cancer; chronic kidney disease, serious heart conditions, liver disease; or pulmonary fibrosis, among other illnesses and conditions.
It is not mandatory for a “higher risk” player to opt-out. A higher-risk opt-out will receive an accrued season toward free agency and all benefits and minimum salary credit for a credited season and is also eligible for a stipend of $350,000, which will not constitute a salary advance.
There is some good news. Only 93 out of 2,600 players (3.5 %) have been placed on the reserved/COVID-19 list. The list includes players who have either tested positive for coronavirus or been in contact with someone who has it or may have it. The NFL expected much higher numbers, so at this point, that is a good sign.