With 2,560 players set to enter training camps across the NFL this week, there's bound to be quite a few that feel uneasy about the hurdles the league will have to overcome in order to play a season amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, the Seahawks got their first dose of this harsh reality as newly-acquired veteran offensive lineman Chance Warmack has voluntarily opted out of the 2020 season, per NFL Network's Mike Garafolo.
Warmack signed with the Seahawks this past March in hopes of restarting his NFL career after taking a year off. He most recently appeared in nine games for the Eagles in 2018, but hasn't started in a game since December 25, 2017.
The 28-year old had an outside shot of breaking camp with Seattle as a backup, but with the news that the NFL has canceled the entire preseason, that opportunity had diminished. Because he voluntarily opted out, his $750,000 contract will come off the Seahawks' books but the team will maintains his rights and he hopes to play in 2021.
The fact Garafolo classified Warmack's decision as "voluntary" in his report is important here as it pertains to the kind of stipend the guard is entitled to under the NFL's recent agreement with the NFLPA. Because he's not considered "at-risk," Warmack will make $150,000 rather than the $350,000 afforded to those that opt out for medical purposes.
Making a tough decision, Warmack opted to sit out because a family member died from COVID-19 and he's been exposed to several people who had the virus.
While the loss of Warmack isn't necessarily a huge blow to the Seahawks, it may signify more of what's to come. With no preseason and opportunity to truly elevate one's status on a roster this summer, players previously viewed as on the bubble may be more inclined to forego the season in order to keep themselves and their inner circles safe.