Jaguars Defensive End Lerentee McCray to Opt Out of 2020 Season
Seven year veteran defensive end Lerentee McCray has decided to opt out of the 2020 NFL season, the Jacksonville Jaguars announced on Saturday.
McCray informed the Jaguars of the decision ahead of the deadline to do so. That deadline was tentatively set for August 4, but technically will fall seven days after the NFL and NFLPA officially sign paperwork on the revised Collective Bargaining Agreement with new stipulations concerning COVID-19. At time of publishing, the paperwork had not yet been signed.
In a statement released through the Jaguars, McCray outlined his concerns with playing and decision to not play this year. It read:
"With the health and safety of my family in mind, I have decided to opt out of the 2020 season during these trying times in 'Our Nation.' I will miss being there with my teammates, coaches and Jaguar personnel competing on Sundays, but I feel that God has directed my steps to make this decision.
"I was honored to be involved in our team's social justice efforts during this offseason, and I look forward to continuing to support those affected in any way I can. My family and I appreciate the understanding and support of the Jaguars organization and our fans. We are praying and working for the health and safety for this great country! #toughtimesdontlasttoughpeopledo"
More than 30 players league wide thus far have elected to opt out of the season over COVID-19 concerns, and that list continues to grow. McCray is the second Jaguar to do so, following defensive tackle Al Woods, who announced his decision Friday of this week. If players do elect to opt out, they receive $150,00 for the season. High risk players (players with a diagnosis of one of the conditions listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) who do so for personal medical reasons will receive $350,00.
That amount is essentially considered a loan on the 2021 contract and the 2020 season will not accrue for those opting out that aren't high-risk, meaning they will not gain a year of experience towards their salary.
McCray came to Jacksonville after two seasons and a Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos, followed by one season with the Buffalo Bills. He has played in 35 games with the Jaguars during his three seasons in Duval (his 2019 season was cut short due to a hamstring injury). He's accumulated 26 tackles, 2.5 sacks, two tackles for loss, five quarterback hits and a pass defended during that time, providing depth at DE and becoming a vital player on special teams.
He resigned with the Jaguars in March of this year, 2020. At that time, Head Coach Doug Marrone said of McCray, "Lerentee has brought depth to our defensive line and has played at a high level on special teams since he joined us in 2017. We look forward to bringing him back as a veteran presence in our locker room in 2020.”
With the status of Yannick Ngakoue to the team still unknown, McCray's experience could have been needed. He had also been a key member of Jacksonville's special teams units in the past, serving as a special teams captain.