NFL players are opting out!

NFL players are opting out!

  • 2020 NFL Season
  • COVID-19
  • Dont'a Hightower
  • Laurent Duvernay-Tardif
  • Michael Pierce
  • NFL
  • Opt-outs
By Juan Figueroa July 30, 2020 0 Comment
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Opting out!

The NFL has a player opt-out flood happening. It is going to be interesting to see the kind of arc the league builds to salvage the season. The amount of players opting out is concerning although the NFL fully expects to have a season. Many players have already decided to opt-out citing health and safety concerns. Some wonder why the NFL has not put a plan together to play inside a “bubble”.

Nevertheless, each player has a very important decision to make regarding this season. Players deemed high risk will receive a stipend of $350,000. Those voluntarily opting out will receive a stipend of $150,000.

The first player to voluntarily opt-out was Chiefs offensive guard Laurent DuVernay-Tardif. The 2014 sixth round draft pick was born in Canada where he was working as an orderly in a Montreal long-term care facility. This opt-out was particularly eye-opening due to the fact that DuVernay-Tardif is the only active NFL player to have graduated from medical school.

The Chiefs guard says he has always known he would have to choose between football and medicine. The fight against COVID-19 just carries more weight for him.

Thus far, 25 players have opted-out of the NFL season. The biggest name on that list is Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower. Hightower leads one of the best defenses in the NFL. Losing him will be a huge blow to the Patriot’s expectations on defense this year. However, he is not the only Patriot opting out. New England alone has six players deciding not to suit up this year!

High-risk opt-outs

The list of high-risk players, to date, includes Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Michael Pierce citing concerns with his asthma condition. The Vikings signed Pierce to a 3 year $27 million deal this offseason.

Another high-risk opt-out is Seattle Seahawk offensive lineman Chance Warmack. The reason he is considered high risk is due to the fact he has been exposed to COVID-19. Warmack lost a family member to COVID-19.

Another high-risk opt-out is Washington defensive end Caleb Brantley. Although it is unclear as to what Brantley’s high-risk condition is.

Voluntary opt-outs

The voluntary opt-out players set to receive the stipend of $150,000 will likely grow as the deadline for players to inform teams of their decision closes in.

Currently this list includes:

  • De’anthony Thomas
  • Andre Smith
  • Star Lotulelei
  • Maurice Candy
  • Stephen Guidry
  • Eddie Vanderdoes
  • Dan Vitale
  • Brandon Bolden
  • Najee Toran
  • Cole Wick
  • Anthony McKinney
  • Devin Funchess
  • Marquise Goodwin
  • Jason Vander Laan
  • Nate Solder

This decision is extremely personal for each of these players. It should be a decision that’s left up to them and them alone. The health and safety of their family is a priority to them.

Certainly, these decisions leave opportunities for someone else to have their dreams come true. Thus many of the younger guys on these rosters will surely take advantage of this chance. Stars will be born from this.

Covid-19 pandemic outbreak in the United States

Since the outbreak began officially in February there have been 4,33,997 total cases and more than 150,000 deaths. The pandemic has struck the US like a wildfire burning thru dry brush. Cases across the country continue to rise as medical experts toggle with treatments and an effective vaccine.

The way the virus has spread has had an effect on the players. Many of them have newborns or high-risk family members. Furthermore, many of them have underlying high-risk medical issues. Surely that is main reason why NFL players are opting out.

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I'm the Editor in Chief of The Brawl. I also write for the Bears Brawl, Bulls Brawl and will release content about the White Sox.


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