As the NFL season quickly approaches, more and more players are deciding if they should opt-out for the season or not. The NFL and NFLPA officially came to an agreement that players must give their teams written notices of player opt-outs by August 6, 2020 at 4 P.M. EST. The NFLPA agreed to shorten the window between the finalizing of the agreement and the opt-out deadline (which was originally seven days) in exchange for some concessions on the final language, according to league sources.
NFL players who voluntarily opt-out of the season will be provided with a $150,000 stipend from the league. If players received credit from being selected in the 2020 NFL draft or playing during the 2019 season, players can opt-out while maintaining their healthcare benefits.
Higher risk players have the same deadline to opt-out. However, instead of receiving a $150,000 stipend, they will get $350,000. The money for players who voluntarily opt-out will be treated as a salary advance while the money for higher-risk players will not.
The deadline for players who are deemed as high-risk to opt-out is extended all the way to Week One of the 2020 season. “High-risk” refers to players who have been diagnosed with a medical condition that places them in this category. A player is also deemed as high risk if one of their family members is severely impacted by or has passed away as a result of COVID-19.
“I think it’s an absolute joke that the NFL is changing the opt-out period, mainly because they don’t want to continue to see guys opt-out. I’m sure they’re shocked by how many guys have opted out,” said New England Patriots safety Devin McCourty in a video conference with reporters on August 2. “I think it’s terrible. I think it’s B.S. that the league has changed the date.”