Monday night, the NFL and the NFL Players Association finally worked out every detail of the their COVID-19 response and plan. Some details include definitions of “high-risk conduct” that could result in suspension or fines, roster exceptions if a player is diagnosed with COVID-19 hours before a game,
But perhaps the most important agreement that both sides made was the setting of the opt-out deadline for players. As first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, that date has now been set firmly for 4 p.m. ET on Thursday, August 6—or just over two days from the time of this publication.
This was a hot topic of debate, as players wanted ample time to make this important decision, while NFL owners and coaches likely wanted to know as soon as possible what kind of roster adjustments that need to be made by the time the season starts in just over a month. According to ProFootballTalk, some NFL owners were also concerned that roster bubble players were opting out simply to collect a stipend—or salary advance—knowing that their job was in jeopardy.
As of Tuesday morning, only two Detroit Lions players have opted out: defensive tackle John Atkins and wide receiver Geronimo Allison. Both players were considered on the roster bubble entering training camp, so the team may not be all that impacted by their decision. However, considering Detroit’s extra-long Reserve/COVID-19 list, the potential of a big-impact player opting out remains.
The next 48 hours should be very interesting.
UPDATE: There are a couple exceptions to opting out after the deadline:
Only two ways an NFL player can opt out of the 2020 season after the 4 p.m. ET Thursday deadline:— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 4, 2020
- New diagnosis he has a high-risk condition
- Player’s family member dies, is hospitalized or otherwise moves to a medical facility because of COVID-19 or related condition