NFL Sets COVID-19 Opt-Out Deadline as Two Raiders Declare

Darin Alexander Baydoun

The NFL has set an official deadline for players to opt-out of the 2021 season. Players will have till this Thursday at 4 p.m. ET to decide if they will nor will not play this season due to health concerns related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The opt-out was initially supposed to come after the CBA for this year was approved, but since that hasn’t happened yet, the league has imposed a new date. 

The Las Vegas Raiders have had two players say they are opting out. Those players are D.J. Killings and Jeremiah Valoaga.

Most notably, eight players from the New England Patriots, including notable contributors Dont’a Hightower and Marcus Cannon, have already opted out. No player would undoubtedly be blamed for doing so, although it stands that some teams have already been hit harder than others when it comes to opting out. 

Players opting out who the league determines are at high risk for contracting the virus will make $350,000 this year at home, while players who wouldn’t fit under that criteria will get $150,000. It had been reported that the league was scared that players who might be in danger of getting cut would use the opt-out to still get paid, posing a reason why they moved the date up. However, players like Patriots safety Devin McCourty have spoken out against this action, calling it an “absolute joke.” 

Joke or not, players will now have two and a half days to decide if they are willing to take the risk of playing this season. With cases continually increasing and Major League Baseball seeing multiple team-wide outbreaks without the use of a bubble, it creates what’s likely to be an impossible choice for a lot of players. 

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Hikaru Kudo
Hikaru Kudo


Additionally, NFL Insider Ian Rapoport reported the following:

  • Players must opt-out by Thursday at 4 p.m. New York Time (EDT)
  • Fines of $50,000 will be issued by the NFL if a player refuses to test for COVID-19
  • Teams will be allowed to bring a player in from the practice squad up to 90 minutes prior to game time