Report: WR Marqise Lee Becomes Seventh Patriot to Opt-Out of 2020 Season

Max McAuliffe

Players are dropping like flies for the New England Patriots. Today, recent free agent signing Marqise Lee has opted out of the 2020 season to take his own preventative measures against COVID-19, according to Jim McBride of the Boston Globe. 

Lee is the seventh Patriot player to opt-out this season. While there is no way of knowing for certain, the list could grow even more, as Lee is probably not the last player to opt-out either. 

Players to opt-out for the Patriots:

  • Marqise Lee
  • Dont'a Hightower
  • Patrick Chung 
  • Marcus Cannon  
  • Brandon Bolden
  • Danny Vitale  
  • Najee Toran 

This list perfectly illustrates the strange times that we are living in. Never did one envision key pieces of New England's team voluntarily sitting out of a season. It also calls into question whether the season is going to happen, or if it could start and risk shutting down mid-season, which is a dilemma that the MLB is currently facing right now. 

As for the impact of Lee sitting out, it likely will not be much. Lee was likely a cut candidate before the start of the regular season. With Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu, N'Keal Harry, and Jakobi Meyers all being roster locks, Lee would be competing with Damiere Byrd, Jeff Thomas and Gunner Olszewski for the fifth spot on the receiver depth chart. 

While Lee could have won the fifth spot, Byrd provides more upside and has previous chemistry with Cam Newton. Thomas, an exciting UDFA prospect, also stood a pretty good chance of beating out Lee. While Thomas provides a lot of upside, youth, and promise on a cheap deal, Lee provides No. 4 receiver production on a more expensive veteran contract. 

Now down a receiver, it will be interesting to see if Bill Belichick brings back either Isaiah Zuber or Sean Riley. Zuber and Riley are two UDFA receivers who were recently cut in an attempt to cut the roster down to 80 players. Will Hastings, another UDFA receiver cut during the 10-man cut down, was recently resigned by the team. Either Zuber or Riley could be headed back as New England continues to try and find more production from their receiver position this season.