The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our lives in several different ways, one being our inability to attend live sporting events such as NFL football games.  We're not the only ones who won't be attending any games first-hand, however, because some of the players might be watching on TV with us as the NFL has announced that NFL Players have the choice to opt-out of their contract agreements for 2020.  The decision players make to play or not this year will come with consequences which could be a Blessing for some or a Career ending decision for others.

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The deadline for written submission that a player is going to opt-out is August 1, 2020, and once any player decides to opt-out, it's irrevocable that they cannot change their mind and come back at any point during the entire 2020 season.  Here's the way an NBC Sports report described some scenarios.

The player who opts out will receive a $150,000 stipend for 2020 — minus any amounts already received by the player in 2020. The balance (up to $150,000) would be treated as an advance on the player’s 2021 base salary. (This implies that players not under contract for 2021 would not be eligible for the stipend.)

Here’s the most intriguing aspect of the opt-out proposal: The NFL’s offer states that “[n]o club may renegotiate a contract with any player who has given notice of his intention to opt out.” As a practical matter, this gives a player until August 1 to use the threat of a potential opt out as leverage to get a new deal.

The message from agent to team would go like this: “My client wants to play this year, but he’s got serious reservations about the league’s safety procedures, and he is concerned about catching the virus and spreading it to his family. But he’d be willing to assume the enhanced risk of playing this year if he were to get a new contract.”

Whatever players decide, hopefully, they will all make the right decisions for themselves individually and it will result in them and their families staying safe and healthy either way.


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