The NFL and the NFL Players Association have agreed that players will have the ability to opt out of the 2020 season through Thursday, August 6, at 4:00 p.m. ET. After that, players may opt out under only limited circumstances.
According to the document outlining the final opt-out procedures, a copy of which PFT has obtained, a player may opt out after August 6 if he he receives a new diagnosis that he suffers from one of the “Higher Risk” factors. If that occurs, the player will have one week after receiving the new diagnosis to opt out.
Also, if a player has a family member die or become hospitalized due to COVID-19 after August 6, the player will be eligible at that point to opt out.
Beyond those two categories, players can’t opt out after August 6. Technically, they can still retire and un-retire; however, some players may have to refund teams for unearned signing bonus payments.
Ideally, players would have two more limited windows to decide whether to opt out: (1) after padded practices begin; and (2) after games begin. That’s when all players will have a chance to see whether they feel safe and comfortable playing 11-on-11 football in a pandemic, and that’s why they all should get extra opportunities to tap out.