Some players are more than good enough to take a stand against vaccination without having to worry about getting released. And some players are Dolphins tight end Adam Shaheen.
Shaheen, via Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, told reporters on Saturday that the NFL is “not going to strongarm me” into getting vaccinated. He vowed that he will follow all protocols in order to avoid being fined.
Shaheen falls far enough down the team’s depth chart to risk getting cut in favor of a vaccinated teammate. He may feel protected, however, by his contract, which pays out $1.5 million in salary guaranteed for skill, injury, and cap in 2021. (If another team were to sign Shaheen, the Dolphins would get credit based on his earnings with another team.)
Still, he’s regarded as no higher than fourth on the depth chart, behind some combination of Mike Gesicki, Durham Smythe, and Hunter Long. If other options are close enough in skill — and vaccinated — Shaheen could be in trouble.
Whether it happens in Miami or elsewhere, players who land on the roster bubble will be at risk of getting released if not vaccinated. It’s obviously a competitive disadvantage, making it an unavoidable factor when the time comes to figure out which of the 90 players currently on the team will be among the 53 with jobs as of Week One.