Patriots-Devin-McCourty-during-game-against-Steelers
Sep 8, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots free safety Devin McCourty (32) reacts after defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

As the NFL prepares for its 2020 season, the league has seen a wave of players opt-out of playing football this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the NFL now moving up the deadline for players to decide their fate, New England Patriots star Devin McCourty is blasting the league for not acting in the best interest of safety.

McCourty, whose team has seen eight players opt-out of the upcoming season, took aim at the NFL for not giving its players enough time to decide if they will play this year.

Devin McCourty blasts NFL for changing player opt-out deadline

McCourty hasn’t been shy this offseason about calling out the NFL or expressing his concerns for playing football amid a health crisis. He and his brother, Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty, expressed their concerns about playing this fall already.

The NFL created the opt-out clause this year to provide those fearful of the risk that they or a loved one could contract COVID-19. Originally, the deadline was set to be a week after the league and NFLPA reached agreement regarding player safety and an economic plan for the 2020 season.

Instead, with more players choosing to sit out this year, the NFL decided to move the deadline up. After seeing the league’s action this weekend, McCourty didn’t hold back.

Players who voluntarily choose to skip the upcoming season are granted a $150,000 stipend this year that might need to be paid back in 2021. Furthermore, their contract tolls to the 2021 season and they don’t receive a year of service time. Only players who are deemed high risk for serious symptoms of COVID-19 receive a credited season along with a $350,000 stipend.

What NFL players are opting out?

The NFL likely didn’t anticipate the wave of players exercising the opt-out clause due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the deadline set for Wednesday fast approaching, here are the NFL players who already opted out for the 2020 season.

  • New England Patriots: Patrick Chung, Dont’a Hightower, Marcus Cannon, Brandon Bolden, Marqise Lee, Danny Vitale, Najee Toran, Matt LaCosse
  • Baltimore Ravens: Andre Smith, De’Anthony Thomas
  • Dallas Cowboys: Maurice Canady, Stephen Guidry, Jamize Olawale
  • New Orleans Saints: Cole Wick, Jason Vander Laan
  • Kansas City Chiefs: Damien Williams, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif
  • Jacksonville Jaguars: Lerentee McCray, Al Woods
  • Buffalo Bills: Star Lotulelei, E.J. Gaines
  • New York Jets: C.J. Mosley, Leo Koloamatangi
  • New York Giants: Nate Solder, Da’Mari Scott
  • Cincinnati Bengals: Josh Tupou, Isaiah Prince
  • Detroit Lions: Geronimo Allison, John Atikins
  • Cleveland Browns: Drake Dorbeck, Drew Forbes
  • Carolina Panthers: Jordan Mack
  • Los Angeles Rams: Chandler Brewer
  • Chicago Bears: Eddie Goldman
  • Denver Broncos: Kyle Peko
  • Green Bay Packers: Devin Funchess
  • Houston Texans: Eddie Vanderdoes
  • Minnesota Vikings: Michael Pierce
  • Philadelphia Eagles: Marquise Goodwin
  • Seattle Seahawks: Chance Warmack
  • Tennessee Titans: Anthony McKinney
  • Washington Football Team: Caleb Brantley
Matt Johnson
NFL, MLB & college football writer for Sportsnaut. Graduated from San Diego State University with BA in Journalism, 2019. Grew up in Sacramento, now based in Indianapolis. Seen on MSN. Previously: eDraft, The Connection, With the First Pick