Opt outs are one of the unresolved issues between NFL, NFL Players Association

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As the NFL and NFL Players Association work toward a resolution of all outstanding issues regarding training camp, the preseason (if there is one), and the regular season (hopefully, there is one), one of the lingering issues relates to the question of whether players will have the ability to opt out of the 2020 season, with no penalty beyond forfeited base salary for the coming season.

NFLPA Vice President Sam Acho, appearing recently on SiriusXM NFL Radio, said that the league currently opposes opt outs of any kind.

“The league is very hesitant to have any player opt out,” Acho said. “Their position is if the player doesn’t want to go to training camp, well that’s their decision. Obviously, fines could take player and you could lose your starting spot, all those things could take place.”

Acho said the players want to have that choice, pointing to other sports that are allowing it.

“The NFL as a league is trying to keep that from happening,” Acho said.

The league isn’t commenting publicly on the opt-out situation, or any other issue relating to the negotiations related to pandemic protocols.

Opt outs present a complicated question, given that some players who aren’t happy with their contracts may be willing to threaten to sit out due to concerns over the pandemic, but who could be persuaded to roll the dice if they get a better deal. Also, the procedure for opting out needs to be clarified. Must a decision be made before training camp? Or can players pull the rip cord whenever they feel sufficiently uncomfortable about continuing, for any reason.

Then there’s the question of whether the player needs an objective reason for opting out, like enhanced risk factors or a family member who has enhanced risk factors.

However it works out, it’s something the league and the union need to work out. The end result could be that players will be able to walk away, if they’re not comfortable playing in a pandemic.

Frankly, the league should want that. Football is sufficiently demanding from a physical, mental, and emotional standpoint without worrying about the virus. If a player chooses to take a year off and to forfeit his pay, he should be allowed to do so.

17 responses to “Opt outs are one of the unresolved issues between NFL, NFL Players Association

  1. What’s likely an issue is that players who want to opt out also still want $$ as well. They want to get paid for not playing.

  2. The other leagues have negotiated reduced salaries. Also, the other leagues don’t pay a significant amount of salary upfront in signing bonus.

    If a player sits out their contract should toll a year. I don’t see a way around it.

    In a way it would be great to see the season canceled and see some owners and players file for bankruptcy. They aren’t prepared for this.

  3. It should be simple. Players are allowed to opt out at any point up until 24 hrs before final cuts then if they opt out they dont get credit for years experience as it pertains to anything, their not paid anything and their contract tolls for a season. If a player opts out before the season their also ineligible to be traded or play for any team during the current league year to prevent guys from sitting out a few weeks to make a power move.

  4. nunya says: “What’s likely an issue is that players who want to opt out also still want $$ as well. They want to get paid for not playing.”

    Did you not read the article? Players want the ability to opt out “with no penalty beyond forfeited base salary for the coming season.” TRANSLATION: They don’t want to get paid, but a guarantee they won’t get punishment for choosing it either.

    Only problem is that coaches and teams would need to move on to next man up. Unless it’s a superstar, there’s no way they’ll save a spot for that player for 2021. Another reason to move on from the player – 18 months of no playing, no practicing and no coaching.

  5. He should have to forfeit any prorated bonus and this year should not count towards free agency.
    It should be like it never happened.
    There should be zero reward for sitting out. They can collect unemployment like the rest of us.

  6. Yea they need an opt out! I’d hate for them to have to man up! like the real working fans and just do their job. Thank goodness the medical workers haven’t opt out!

  7. Would a player who opts out get a year of credit toward free agency? Would their contract freeze and pick up the next year?

  8. I agree in principle, but what about big signing bonuses that have already been paid up front, with the expectation they would be amortized over a certain number of years?

    Would contract years toll (extend by a year) for players who opt out?

  9. wischeddar says:
    July 7, 2020 at 10:43 pm
    No work no pay. Be a wuss and don’t get rewarded.
    The virus doesn’t care if you are a tough guy. There are many people who have had months long effects from this virus… without pre-existing health conditions. Anyone with over a 30 BMI is at risk. The average NFL offensive lineman’s BMI is 38. So maybe it should be phrased, don’t work because of health concerns and they are not expecting to get paid. (I know, reading the article helps.)

  10. Why doesn’t the NFL just give in and say no 2020 season.There is no way it can happen. Florida is having so many positive cases of covid 19, Texas will be next along with California. Mlb players are being tested positive daily and they should be less at risk than NFL players. Goodell needs to grow a set and say we aren’t playing 2020. I’m sure Florio or his guru’s will not post this. This may be under the wrong blog, but post it somewhere.

  11. The league is setting itself up for a massive lawsuit. They can’t reasonable argue that the virus is just another risk in football, and coaches are already on record saying that they expect players to get the virus. Everyone is focused on the virus’s death rate, when lots of survivors have diminished lung capacity or worse.

    The NFL should allow players to opt out without salary for the year. Anything less is malpractice, both from a player safety issue and from a financial standpoint.

  12. Yet another issue to add to the long list of road blocks both legal and medical for this season. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see this season happening.

  13. So if a player got a huge signing bonus or roster bonus the last few years they should only lose base salary this year if they opt out? I don’t think so. Your contract tolls a full year with zero pay this year or you OWE back part of any bonus money that was intended to be spread out cap wise over the length of your SERVICE. Can’t have it both ways. The league is right not to allow this to become essentially a bargaining chip because we all know it will.

  14. That’s because the league lawyers foolishly built a CBA with no out for pandemics, disasters etc and have to pay the players even if no games are played

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