You can count six New England Patriots out of this coming football season. ESPN’s Mike Reiss is reporting that six players have opted out of the 2020-21 NFL season which means Patriots’ problems are just beginning after Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski bailed on the team for the Sunshine State’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. According to the report by Reiss:
Running back Brandon Bolden also is planning to opt out of the season, a source told ESPN. Starting offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, fullback Danny Vitale and reserve offensive lineman Najee Toran earlier decided to opt out for the Patriots.
According to an agreement approved by both the league and the NFL Players Association, players considered high risk for COVID-19 can earn $350,000 and an accrued NFL season if they choose to opt out. Players without risk can earn $150,000 for opting out.
As the coronavirus continues to be a serious problem in the United States, it’s no surprise that some athletes have decided to place their family’s safety over the almighty dollar (and given NFL players’ salaries, I’d like to think they have a few bucks squirreled away for a rainy day (or in this case, the coronapocalypse). Here’s what Dont’a Hightower told the NFL Network (credit: CNN)
“Me and my fiancée are just more concerned with the health of our family than football — especially the new addition to our family,”
Hightower recently became a dad while Patrick Chung mentioned he and his wife are expecting a child. Offensive tackle Michael Cannon’s agent revealed Cannon has pre-existing conditions which put him at risk for COVID.
Considering the recent outbreak of COVID-19 cases in baseball, it’s understandable why NFL players would be reluctant to play a high-contact sport like football. You can be certain that this is only the beginning as it’s difficult to envision these six being the only players who will be opting out of playing a high-contact game where concerns over contracting coronavirus are legitimate.
However, like the kooky conspiracy theories concerning the coronapocalypse, it appears there are concerns that the Patriots’ evil mastermind Bill Belichick is using these opt-outs in some sinister scheme.
Do you think other teams’ players will opt out? Let us know in the comments below.