Vikings defensive tackle Michael Pierce has reportedly joined several other players across the league and opted out of the 2020 season, according to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network.
The former Raven signed a 3-year, $27M contract with Minnesota this past offseason and was being counted on in part to replace Linval Joseph, who signed with the Chargers. The 6-foot, 340 pound DT spent four seasons in Baltimore, totaling 151 tackles and 3.5 sacks. He was scheduled to earn $3 million this season. The league and the NFLPA recently agreed to a stipend for players who decide to opt out during this pandemic.
#Vikings big-ticket FA DT Michael Pierce is opting out due to respiratory issues, I'm told. He's considered to be in the high-risk category.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 28, 2020
According to Ian Rapaport of the NFL Network, Pierce is opting out in part due to respiratory issues that put him in the high-risk category. He joins an ever-growing list of players opting out of the upcoming season, including names like Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower and Bears defensive tackle Eddie Goldman, among others. Kick returner De'Anthony Thomas and OL Andre Smith have already opted out for the Ravens.
What is not known is how this could effect Baltimore's compensatory NFL Draft selections in 2021. A complex formula based on the contract signed and eventual playing time determines what pick is given back to the team. The NFL has not yet specify how this process will be affected by players opting out.
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