When the NFL and NFL Players Association amended the collective bargaining agreement in preparation for the start of the 2020 season amid a global pandemic, both parties agreed players would have a choice of opting out for the year.
There have already been a number of players, nearly 30, that have decided not to play in 2020. Others have until as early as Tuesday, August 7 to make their decision, which ranges from a voluntary opt-out or a designated high-risk out-opt. The deadline will be seven days after the new CBA is ratified.
If a player decides the former, they will be eligible for a $150,000 stipend; any undrafted free agent is not eligible for the stipend. A player will be given a high-risk designation if they meet the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s list of underlying medical conditions with the exception of a high body mass index. Players will need to have been previously diagnosed with one of 15 factors including cancer, Type-2 diabetes, asthma, and serious heart conditions, among others. These players will qualify for a $350,000 stipend.
All player opt-outs are final, but players are able to opt-out at a later date if a family member is hospitalized because of or passes away from COVID-19 during training camp or at any point in the season. These players will also be eligible for the $150,000 stipend, which will be offset from any wages they have already earned.
Below is a full list of up-to-date player opt-outs; it’s important to note that not all players have specified their reason for opting out.
This list was last updated on August 6th.
*denotes high-risk opt-outs
Arizona Cardinals: OT Marcus Gilbert
Baltimore Ravens: KR De’Anthony Thomas, OL Andre Smith
Buffalo Bills: DT Star Lotulelei, CB E.J. Gaines
Carolina Panthers: LB Jordan Mack, LB Christian Miller*
Chicago Bears: DT Eddie Goldman, S Jordan Lucas
Cincinnati Bengals: DT Josh Tupou, OT Isaiah Prince
Cleveland Browns: OT Drake Dorbeck, OG Drew Forbes, DT Andrew Billings, OG Colby Gossett*, OG Malcolm Pridgeon
Dallas Cowboys: CB Maurice Canady, WR Stephen Guidry, FB Jamize Olawale
Denver Broncos: DL Kyle Peko*, OT Ja'Wuan James
Detroit Lions: DT John Atkins, WR Geronimo Allison, C Russell Bodine
Green Bay Packers: WR Devin Funchess
Houston Texans: DL Eddie Vanderdoes
Indianapolis Colts: LB Skai Moore, S Marvell Tell, S Rolan Milligan
Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Lerentee McCray, DT Al Woods, CB Rashaan Melvin
Kansas City Chiefs: OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, RB Damien Williams, OT Lucas Niang
Duvernay-Tardif was the first player to voluntarily opt-out. He has been working as an orderly in a long-term care facility in Quebec. Tardif is the only active player with a medical doctorate.
“Being at the frontline during this offseason has given me a different perspective on this pandemic and the stress it puts on individuals and our health care system,” Tardif wrote, in part, in a statement released on Twitter.
Las Vegas Raiders: CB D.J. Killings, LB Ukeme Eligwe, DE Jeremiah Valoaga
Los Angeles Rams: OT Chandler Brewer
Miami Dolphins: WR Allen Hurns, WR Albert Wilson
Minnesota Vikings: DT Michael Pierce
New England Patriots: LB Dont’a Hightower, FB Danny Vitale, RB Brandon Bolden, OG Najee Toran, OL Marcus Cannon*, S Patrick Chung, WR Marqise Lee, TE Matt LaCosse
New England saw a significant number of players choose not to play. Cannon was one who received a high-risk exemption. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma before the 2011 draft and missed the first half of his rookie season receiving treatment. Chung received unwarranted heat for his decision to voluntarily opt-out, which he specified was due to the mounting health concerns regarding the coronavirus. He has a son with asthma and another child on the way.
New Orleans Saints: TE Jason Vander Laan, TE Cole Wick
New York Giants: OL Nate Solder, WR Da'Mari Scott, CB Sam Beal
Solder is also a cancer survivor and has a son that is currently battling cancer. He penned a statement released earlier this week on Twitter, saying, in part, “with fear and trembling, we struggle to keep our priorities in order, and for us, our children’s health and the health of our neighbors comes before football.”
New York Jets: OL Leo Koloamatangi, LB C.J. Mosley, LB James Burgess, WR Josh Doctson
Philadelphia Eagles: WR Marquise Goodwin
San Francisco 49ers: WR Travis Benjamin, OT Shon Coleman, C Jake Brendel
Seattle Seahawks: OL Chance Warmack
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OT Brad Seaton*
Tennessee Titans: OT Anthony McKinney
Washington Football Team: DL Caleb Brantley*, LB Josh Harvey-Clemons
Free Agent: G Larry Warford
Brantley was the first player to receive the high-risk designation. His condition wasn’t specified.