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The NFL's Opt-Out Policy: How it Works and Who is Not Playing in 2020

67 players have opted to miss the 2020 NFL season

A number of NFL players are opting not to participate this season over concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic. As sports continue its roller coaster of a return, the rules and regulations for each league can be quite confusing. However, the NFL's opt-out policy is pretty simple and straightforward. Here is a breakdown of how it works and who is opting out for the 2020 season.

 

How does the opt-out policy work?

The NFL and NFL Players Association agreed on July 24 to an opt-out policy that gives the players an opportunity to skip the season and have their contracts moved to 2021. The players who opt out of 2020 will then receive a salary advance in the form of a stipend. Players who qualify as high risk for COVID-19 will receive $350,000, while any other player who opts out will receive $150,000. The money will then be taken from their salary in 2021. Every NFL player is allowed to participate in this program except undrafted rookies.

 

How many players have opted out of the 2020 season?

When the deadline for opting out passed on the afternoon of Aug. 6, 67 of the eligible 2,880 players had chosen not to play the 2020 season. The first player to opt out was Kansas City Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, who is the first practicing medical doctor to play in the NFL and spent the offseason combating COVID-19 in his hometown of Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Quebec. Since then, 66 other players opted out for higher risk, voluntary, or unspecified reasons. The team with the most players opting out is the New England Patriots, which had eight choose to skip the 2020 season.

 

Have players from all teams opted out of the season?

No. The Atlanta Falcons, Los Angeles Chargers, and Pittsburgh Steelers have reported no opt outs.

 

Who will not be playing in 2020?

Below is a list of players who have opted out for the 2020 season.

 

Arizona Cardinals

Marcus Gilbert, OT

 

Baltimore Ravens

Andre Smith, OT

De'Anthony Thomas, KR

 

Buffalo Bills

E.J. Gaines, CB

Star Lotulelei, DT

 

Carolina Panthers

Jordan Mack, LB

Christian Miller, LB

 

Chicago Bears

Eddie Goldman, DT

Jordan Lucas, S

 

Cincinnati Bengals

Isaiah Prince, OT

Josh Tupou, DT

 

Cleveland Browns

Andrew Billings, DT

Drake Dorbeck, OT

Drew Forbes, G

Colby Gossett, G

Malcolm Pridgeon, G

 

Dallas Cowboys

Maurice Canady, CB

Stephen Guidry, WR

Jamize Olawale, FB

 

Denver Broncos

Ja'Wuan James, OT

Kyle Peko, DT

 

Detroit Lions

Geronimo Allison, WR

John Atkins, DT

Russell Bodine, C

 

Green Bay Packers

Devin Funchess, WR

 

Houston Texans

Eddie Vanderdoes, DT

 

Indianapolis Colts

Rolan Milligan, DB

Skai Moore, LB

Marvell Tell, DB

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

Lerentee McCray, LB

Rashaan Melvin, CB

Al Woods, DT

 

Kansas City Chiefs

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, G

Lucas Niang, OT

Damien Williams, RB

 

Las Vegas Raiders

Ukeme Eligwe, LB

D.J. Killings, DB

Jeremiah Valoaga, DE

 

Los Angeles Rams

Chandler Brewer, OT

 

Miami Dolphins

Allen Hurns, WR

Albert Wilson, WR

 

Minnesota Vikings

Michael Pierce, DT

 

New England Patriots

Brandon Bolden, RB

Marcus Cannon, OT

Patrick Chung, S

Dont'a Hightower, LB

Matt LaCosse, TE

Marqise Lee, WR

Najee Toran, G

Dan Vitale, FB

 

New Orleans Saints

Jason Vander Laan, TE

Cole Wick, TE

 

New York Giants

Sam Beal, CB

Da'Mari Scott, WR

Nate Solder, OT

 

New York Jets

Josh Doctson, WR

Leo Koloamatangi, C

C.J. Mosley, LB

 

Philadelphia Eagles

Marquise Goodwin, WR

 

San Francisco 49ers

Travis Benjamin, WR

Jake Brendel, C

Shon Coleman, OT

 

Seattle Seahawks

Chance Warmack, G

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Brad Seaton, OT

 

Tennessee Titans

Anthony McKinney, OT

 

Washington Football Team

Caleb Brantley, DE

Josh Harvey-Clemons, LB

 

— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports' Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.

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