NFL players who decide to opt out of the coming season must do so by Thursday afternoon, a person familiar with the agreement between the league and the players told the Associated Press.
There also are opt-out provisions for players who experience emergency or extenuating circumstances during the season due to the coronavirus, the person said. Those provisions would cover a player with a severe family situation related to COVID-19 or if he is diagnosed with a high-risk condition after Thursday's deadline.
Any player who opts out and is in the high-risk category will receive a $350,000 stipend for 2020, with his contract paused. Players in the voluntary opt-out category will get $150,000 in the form of an advance on a contract.
Another person with direct knowledge of the agreement between the league and the players' union said that relief in the 2020 salary cap is being provided to the 32 teams. If a player opts out, his contract is paused for a season. Any signing bonus that was being applied to the salary cap in 2020 now will be delayed a year.
Already, about 50 players have opted out of playing due to the pandemic. By not applying any signing bonuses to 2020, several million dollars could be freed up for signing new players. That gives teams more flexibility should players contract the coronavirus and be unavailable.
•Detroit removed Matthew Stafford from the COVID-IR list, saying he received a false positive test result — and drawing the ire of the quarterback's wife toward the NFL. Kelly Stafford had surgery last year to remove a brain tumor, and she took to Instagram to blame the league "for not holding themselves accountable."
•Jacksonville quarterback Gardner Minshew also was removed from the COVID list after a second negative test. "Yeah, did not contract the virus," he said. "Took one look at me, ran the other way."
• Running back LeSean McCoy finalized a one-year contract with Tampa Bay.