Yesterday, former Gators defensive lineman Caleb Brantley, now with the Washington Football Team in the NFL, has decided to forego the 2020 season, opting out, using one of the new mechanisms in the NFL right now, according to the NFL's transaction wire.
The NFL and the NFL Players Association recently agreed to a revised collective bargaining agreement in response to players' concerns amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The revised deal comes with several various pieces of language, including protections for the players and the club considering the circumstances surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
Within the agreement came mechanisms that allow for any individual player currently under contract to "opt out" of the season, either voluntarily or due to being at "high-risk", meaning medically high-risk due to the ways in which the coronavirus affects individuals.
Here is how the language of both opt-out options are written per a memo sent to players, according to ESPN's Dan Graziano:
A player who chooses to opt out because he is in a higher-risk medical category will get a $350,000 stipend that is not an advance against future salary. He will receive an accrued season toward free agency and a credited season toward player benefits and minimum salary.
A player who chooses to opt out of the 2020 season must inform his team in writing within seven days of the finalizing of the side letter. His contract will toll, meaning it will pick up next year where it is now. As long as he earned a credited season in 2019 or was drafted in 2020, he will get a stipend of $150,000, which will be treated as a salary advance and come out of future years' pay.
The "high-risk" opt out is beneficial to Brantley not only for his health but also because he is not signing a deal which is essentially an advance, he is simply being allowed to take control of his income during these uncertain times.
Brantley was originally drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft after spending four seasons with the Gators, redshirting his first season (2013) with the team and ultimately leaving as a redshirt junior. Over the course of his collegiate career, Brantley accumulated 80 tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and 5.5 sacks.
Amid an injury-riddled career in the NFL, Brantley has started just one game, playing in 20, while accumulating two sacks and 19 total tackles.
Five other players have decided to forego the 2020 season, opting to voluntarily opt out, including Cowboys cornerback Maurice Canady, Seahawks offensive lineman Chance Warmack, Ravens returner De'Anthony Thomas, Patriots fullback Danny Vitale and Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif.
Earlier this offseason, Brantley signed a one-year $750,000 deal with the Washington Football Team.