After weeks of back-and-forth, the side agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA has been executed. After the deal was signed, players were told that they’ll have until 4pm ET/3pm CT on Thursday to opt out (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com).
The two sides first agreed to terms on July 24th, but it took ten days for the lawyers to update the recently-signed CBA. The opt out deadline was supposed to be scheduled for seven days after the final execution of the deal. Now, they’ve got two days.
Already, upwards of 45 players have passed on the 2020 season. That number could grow even larger in the next couple of days – deadlines spur action, and many of the league’s linemen can be categorized as “high-risk” due to their body mass. Nearly every other position has been represented as well. C.J. Mosley, Dont’a Hightower, Nate Solder and Damien Williams are among the players who will skip the season. Free agent Pro Bowler Larry Warford also decided to sit out in 2020. The Patriots have been hit the hardest – eight of their players have opted out, including Hightower, safety Patrick Chung, right tackle Marcus Cannon, and wide receiver Marqise Lee.
With COVID-19 threatening the health and availability of players throughout the year, the two parties agreed to a special provision that will allow teams to activate a player off the practice squad up to 90 minutes before kickoff (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). Meanwhile, any player who refuses a COVID-19 test will be fined $50K.