As part of the deal reached between the NFL and the NFL Players Association late last week to start playing during the coronavirus pandemic, players have been given the choice to opt out of the 2020 season. The NFL and the NFLPA are working to finalize a deadline for players to give written notice of their decision; the deadline should be within the next six days.
Players who choose to opt out will be classified into two categories, according to a memo sent to teams:
- Higher risk: Players deemed at higher risk of developing serious complications from COVID-19 can opt out and receive a stipend of $ 350,000. To qualify for this higher risk group, players must have had a pre-confirmed diagnosis for one (or more) of the 15 risk factors listed by the Centers for Disease Control, including cancer, sickle cell anemia, diabetes. type 2, asthma, hypertension, liver disease, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and severe heart disease, among others.
- Voluntary / not high risk: Players who played in 2019 or are rookies drafted in 2020 and choose to retire will receive a stipend of $ 150,000 which will be considered a salary advance and count towards the team’s 2020 salary cap. Undrafted rookies can opt out, but are not eligible for the $ 150,000 allowance.
All opt-outs are final. If a player has a family member hospitalized due to (or dies) from COVID-19 during training camp or season, they may withdraw at a later date for the remainder of the season and will be eligible for the allowance of $ 150,000, which will be offset against any salary he had previously earned. Players have not necessarily disclosed whether they are a medical (high risk) or voluntary opt-out yet.
Athletic maintains a current list of players who have made the decision to withdraw from the 2020 season. Players known to be high risk opt-outs are indicated with an asterisk. This message will be updated.
Baltimore Ravens: OT Andre Smith, KR De’Anthony Thomas
Buffalo Bills: DT Star Lotulelei
Carolina Panthers: LB Jordan Mack
Chicago Bear: DT Eddie Goldman
Dallas Cowboys: CB Maurice Canady, WR Stephen Guidry
Denver Broncos: DL Kyle Peko *
Detroit Lions: DT John Atkins
Green Bay Packers: WR Devin Funchess
Houston Texans: DL Eddie Vanderdoes
Kansas City Chiefs: OG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, who worked on the front line in a long-term care facility in Quebec.
My decision regarding the 2020 NFL season pic.twitter.com/jrY3nZfNWO
– Laurent D. Tardif (@LaurentDTardif) July 25, 2020
Minnesota Vikings: DT Michael Pierce
New England Patriots: RB Brandon Bolden, S Patrick Chung, OT Marcus Cannon *, LB Dont’a Hightower, C / G Najee Toran, FB Danny Vitale
Giants of New York: OT Nate Solder, who is a cancer survivor whose son is currently battling cancer.
– Nate Solder (@soldernate) July 29, 2020
Philadelphia Eagles: WR Marquise Goodwin
Seattle Seahawks: Warmack OL Chance
Titans of Tennessee: OT Anthony McKinney
Washington Football Team: DL Caleb Brantley*
(Top photo by Dont’a Hightower: Matthew J. Lee / The Boston Globe via Getty Images)