For players considering opt outs, don’t forget the retirement option

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The permanent if not exercised (barring limited changes in circumstances), irrevocable if exercised (without exception) deadline for opting out arrives at 4:00 p.m. ET on Thursday. For some players, it may be too early to make a final decision.

Even if the shorts and T-shirts practice cocoon makes them feel safe, that sense of security could change once 11-on-11 padded practices begin, or after games start. But there won’t be a fresh window at that point to make a conscientious decision to walk away until the pandemic subsides or the preventive measures improve.

Remember this: After the opt out privilege evaporates, players have another way to walk away. They can simply retire.

And then, like Brett Favre did (and did . . . and did) they can unretire. There’s no magic to it. There’s no official paperwork to file.

You retire by telling the team (wait for it) you’ve retired. You unretire by telling the Commissioner (wait for it) you’ve unretired.

Both can be done over and over and over again. Your team must quickly decide whether to reinstate your contract, to trade you, or to cut you. (This year, there likely will be high demand all season long for the services of starting-caliber professional football players.)

Two questions need to be resolved before retiring. First, do you owe any money to the team if you retire? Signing bonuses, for example, represent advance payment for future services; there’s a chance the full signing bonus hasn’t been earned. Second, are you willing and able to write that check in exchange for the ability to retire?

If you’re on the fence about whether to opt out and if you’d like more time to consider all circumstances, talk to your agent ASAFP about whether and to what extent you’d owe money to the team if you retire later.

Andrew Luck did it last year, for reasons unrelated to the pandemic. You can do it this year. But don’t do it unless you’re fully aware of the potential financial consequences of doing so.

12 responses to “For players considering opt outs, don’t forget the retirement option

  1. Whats the cap ramification for retirement vs opt out? What happens to a players bonus? does he have to pay portions of it back? Are any voided? Im not so sure retirement is such a sure fired silver bullet here

  2. I see. So players can retire to skip training camp, and unretire prior to week 1. Every year! Unless of course, they get what is the only important thing. No…not safety! It’s more money!!

  3. So back to the fact that the NFLPA sold out the players on the time to opt out since they don’t have time to get their own qualified medical advice…if I were a player I would not trust either NFLPA or NFL medical staff on this one. Why didn’t the players get to vote on this modification of the CBA?

  4. Most players that are away from the game need time to get back up the player they were before. The longer the time off the more difficult and improbable that becomes.

  5. How many teams other than the Bengals and Chargers are going to come after the $150K or $350K they are owed by players who are no longer in the league?

    The players know this and that’s why a bunch of them are opting out.

  6. chmba says:

    August 6, 2020 at 7:27 am

    So back to the fact that the NFLPA sold out the players on the time to opt out since they don’t have time to get their own qualified medical advice…if I were a player I would not trust either NFLPA or NFL medical staff on this one. Why didn’t the players get to vote on this modification of the CBA?
    ——
    That’s why they elect player representatives is to negotiate it’s not so they continually vote on every issue. It’s really no different than any elected official, you vote for someone you feel represents your best interest.

  7. can’t wait for someone to tell me how wrong I was after predicting something correctly again.

    too funny

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