Last year, the NFL had a plethora of players opt out due to concerns regarding COVID-19. That number shouldn’t be nearly as high this year since vaccines are available, but there might still be a few players uncomfortable playing.
C.J. Mosley, Dont’a Hightower, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Damien Williams were some of the biggest names to opt out of the 2020 season. Several role players decided to sit out as well, such as Patrick Chung, Skai Moore and Nate Solder.
With training camp roughly a month away, NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero is reporting that players have until 4 p.m. ET on July 2 to inform their team if they’re opting out of the 2020 season.
Players who are considered “higher risk opt-outs” due to COVID-19 are entitled to $350,000 stipends. Those who are listed as voluntary opt-outs will not receive anything. Last season, voluntary opt-outs received $150,000 stipends from the league.
NFL players have until 4 p.m. ET next Friday, July 2 to inform their team if they’re opting out of the 2021 season, per source.
“Higher Risk” players for COVID again are entitled to a $350,000 stipend. Voluntary opt-outs get nothing. (Last year, their stipend was $150,000.)
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) June 23, 2021
Pelissero provided additional details on the NFL’s opt out rules on Twitter.
“Only players who executed their contracts prior to Oct. 1, 2020, are eligible to take a voluntary opt out, so 2021 rookies aren’t eligible,” Pelissero tweeted. “If a “Higher Risk” rookie opts out, the club still owns his rights. All opt-out decisions are final.”
Additionally, Pelissero announced that the NFL and NFL Players Association have agreed to more benefits for fully vaccinated players, which includes per-game roster bonuses even if they miss a game because of a “breakthrough case.”
NFL fans will officially find out which players are opting out of the 2021 season by the end of next week.