What Happens If An Atlanta Falcons Player Opts Out Of 2020 Season

Dave Holcomb

Twelve NFL players have elected to opt out of the 2020 season as of Saturday afternoon. The group of 12 does not include any Atlanta Falcons players, but that doesn't mean there won't be a player from the organization choosing not to play this fall.

How the NFL handles a player opting out of this season depends greatly on whether the league deems that player a high-risk from a health perspective.

According to Pro Football Focus, the NFLPA released a memo that included 15 factors that would classify a player as a high risk. Any player diagnosed with one of the following will be considered a high risk:

1. Cancer

2. Chronic kidney disease

3. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

4. Immunocompromised state (a weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant

5. Serious heart condition

6. Sickle cell disease

7. Type 2 diabetes mellitus

8. Asthma

9. Cerebrovascular disease

10. Cystic fibrosis

11. Hypertension or high blood pressure

12. Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids or use of other immune weakening medicines

13. Neurologic conditions

14. Liver disease

15. Pulmonary fibrosis

Any Falcons players who are in the high-risk category and opt outs will be eligible to receive $350,000 for the 2020 season.

Players who are not diagnosed with any of these 15 conditions are called "low-risk." They will receive a $150,000 salary advance if they sit out this fall. However, only players who were either drafted in 2020 or earned a credited season in 2019 may be eligible for the $150,000 payment. In order to have received a credited season last year, players must have been paid in full for three or more regular season games.

In addition to the players opting out receiving these payments, this will have an impact on the salary caps for this season and 2021. We will cover those details if/when a Falcons player opts out of this season.

Of the 12 players who have elected to sit out 2020 because of COVID-19, none of them are in the NFC South. The deadline for players to opt out of this season is Tuesday, Aug. 4.

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