Players have until Thursday at 4:00 p.m. ET to make the speak-now-or-forever-hold-your-peace decision to opt out of the 2020 season. Some players are in the process of making a final decision.
Via Matthew Fairburn of TheAthletic.com, Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White said he’s still undecided on whether to opt out. White added that he wanted to evaluate the operations of training camp, and to take time with his decision.
Ideally, players also would have a chance to reassess the situation after fully-padded practices, and then again after games begin. Indeed, they won’t know how they feel about practicing and playing football in a pandemic until they actually do it.
White, a first-round pick in 2017 and a first-team All-Pro in 2019, is due to earn $1.841 million in base salary this year. He’s also due to receive an option-year salary of $10.244 million in 2021.
Opting out would delay everything by a year. It also would deprive the Bills of his services for a full season.
Frankly, one way for the Bills to persuade White to not opt out would be to offer him an extension. The window is open, he’s proven that he deserves long-term security, and it’s possible that the signing bonus and other guaranteed payments would be enough to get him to choose to give it a try.
Indeed, it’s possible that White is talking about a possible opt-out solely as part of an effort to get a new deal with the Bills. If he is, that’s his prerogative. He definitely has earned a second contract, and the opt-out rules give him the ability to apply extra leverage in order to break free from a wage-scale system that unreasonably delays the financial reward that so many first-round picks earn long before they actually receive it.
If, however, the Bills call his bluff, things could get very interesting between now and 4:00 p.m. ET, with White possibly opting-out to prove to the Bills and everyone else that it wasn’t about contract leverage. Even if it was.