It’s that time of the year that all NFL fans have been waiting for, training camp time. Though 2020 and COVID-19 has caused it’s obvious obstacles yet you can’t help but brim with excitement. That was until we got breaking news on the morning of July 28th when all 32 teams reported to camp.
Now there was a play called the read-option made famous by the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the ’90s, which was reserved for college football. With the evolution of the quarterback position and more exotic offenses, the read-option was adopted by the NFL in recent years, re-branded as the Wildcat. The NFL and NFLPA worked an agreement to allow players to run their own opt-out option, let’s call it ‘We’re Out’.
NFL Players’ New Option: ‘We’re Out’
Is the Season Already in Jeopardy?
Here’s the rundown on the details of the opt-out guidelines. Players have until August 3rd to decide if they will sit out the season and be paid a stipend by the owners up to $350,000. The amount is based on option category, voluntary or higher risk. Of course, it’s understandable why the players fought to have this amendment added due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The safety and well being of others should always be first and foremost. These gentlemen have families, children. and their own health issues to consider. With this agreement, and no bubble concept in place, it bears the question will the NFL season even make it to week 1?
Players haven’t been in camp for a week, (the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans reported last week), and 21 players have already tested positive for coronavirus according to the NFLPA. On top of that, several players have already opted-out for the season, including Eddie Goldman, a key defensive player for the Chicago Bears. 26 players have decided to forego the season so far.
Some of the notable players include New England Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower, safety Patrick Chung, and offensive tackle Marcus Cannon. Baltimore Ravens lineman Andre Smith, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, New York Giants lineman Nate Solder, and Kansas City Chiefs lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif have also all opted-out.
If you’re a fantasy football player like me, you’re concerned. My league has already shifted our draft to virtual but our season could be done too. Imagine how money sites like Fan Duel are feeling. Millions of dollars of revenue lost if the billionaire juggernaut called the NFL cancels the season. There’s no way to know how many players will contract the virus but the fact is some will. There are just too many variables. Let’s just hope the league’s protocols in place prevent any outbreaks and keep the season afloat.
One positive that’s in place is they can use the NBA and MLB as a litmus test. Even though the NFL has way more players and personnel to deal with, fans should be confident with precautions that have initially been taken. There are no preseason games, camp players have been reduced to 90 or 80, and all camps are being held at modified team facilities. Let’s all hold our collective breaths and see the status of the season after August 3rd.