In the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL – like all major professional sports in North America – allowed its players the option to opt out of the 2020 season if they had any concerns about playing under such unprecedented conditions. As you can imagine, this opportunity was used by a number of players throughout the league as 67 of them chose to sit out as the NFL went ahead with the 2020 campaign. While the pandemic is waning and various stadiums are planning to host full-capacity fans next season, the league will allow players to opt out if they still have concerns about playing.
According to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, players have until kl. 16 ET Friday 2. July to inform their team if they plan to opt out of the 2021 season. Players who are considered at high risk for COVID are entitled to a $ 350,000 scholarship, which is what they saw a year ago. Voluntary opt-outs, however, do not receive a scholarship unlike the $ 150,000 they received last year.
Meanwhile, only players who performed their contracts before October 1 last year are eligible to make a voluntary opt-out, meaning rookies are not qualified. A rookie considered high risk can still opt out and the club will simply continue to have his rights.
Pelissero adds that a note was sent to teams on Wednesday highlighting an agreement between the league and the NFLPA that creates more benefits for vaccinated players. This includes fully vaccinated players who are allowed to collect a roster bonus per. Play even if they miss a game due to a “breakthrough case.”
With vaccines readily available this time around, it will be interesting to see how many players choose to opt out of the 2021 season, if any. If they make the call to take up the NFL on this option before 6 p.m. 16.00 ET on July 2, however, it is worth noting that all decisions are final.