Report: NFL sets Thursday deadline to opt out due to coronavirus

Ryan Young
·2 min read

The NFL has reportedly set an official deadline for players to opt out of the 2020 season.

If players decide that they want to opt out of the season this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they must do so by Thursday at 4 p.m. ET, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The deadline for players to opt out was initially supposed to be one week after the new CBA was ratified. According to the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the league and NFL Players Association agreed to a deal on Monday evening.

Several players have already opted out

Players can choose to opt out of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus. If players decide not to play — something several have already done — they will receive $350,000 if the league can determine that they are at high risk for contracting the virus. If not, they will make $150,000.

The league is reportedly scared that players may take advantage of the opt-out policy if they fear they may be cut in order to still receive money this season. The policy hasn’t sat well with New England Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty, who said he thought it was an “absolute joke” that the league was trying to move the opt-out date.

[ Coronavirus: How the sports world is responding to the pandemic ]

There were more than 4.7 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Monday night, according to The New York Times, and nearly 156,000 deaths attributed to it. The NFL is still planning to move forward with the season as scheduled while playing games in teams’ home markets instead of in a bubble — like the NBA, WNBA, MLS and NHL have done.

Major League Baseball has also played games in home markets this summer, though has run into significant problems with outbreaks occurring within organizations. Both the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins have seen several players and coaches test positive already, something NFL players are undoubtedly keeping an eye on.

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. even told the Wall Street Journal on Monday that he doesn’t think the league should hold a season at all this fall.

“We're not ready for football season,” he said. “So why are we trying to push forward? It's obviously for [team owners’] money.”

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Players reportedly must make their decision about playing in the upcoming season by Thursday afternoon. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

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