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Report: NFL players seeking opt-out clause for 2020 season

NFL players on the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs huddle
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

As the NFL and NFL Players Association negotiate a plan for the 2020 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFLPA is now reportedly pushing to secure opt-out clauses and stipends for players to sit out the 2020 season.

NFL players seek opt-out clauses, conditional stipends to sit out 2020 season

Many NFL players have expressed concern regarding the fear of playing football this season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As more of their peers test positive for the virus, with some still experiencing breathing issues, the NFLPA is now looking to secure opt-out clauses.

According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the opt-out clauses would be attached to additional stipends that would provide certain players with financial support if they sit out. Notably, the stipend will largely apply to at-risk players or those with at-risk family members.

  • The NFLPA is requesting an opt-out clause for at-risk players that provides them with their salary, but not bonuses, if they choose to sit out due to the health risks.
  • The union is also seeking a clause for those with at-risk family members, giving them an accrued season and benefits if they exercise the opt-out.
  • An opt-out clause for players who leave the team after initially reporting for training camp, but terms on the stipends aren’t known.
  • Players are seeking a $250,000 guaranteed stipend if they show up for training camp and the NFL shuts things due to the pandemic. If the NFL season begins and things are shut down, players are seeking a $500,000 stipend.

The NFL needs an agreement with the NFLPA for the 2020 season to happen and even for players to report for training camp. Under a recent economic proposal, the league suggested withholding 35% of players’ salaries in escrow. The NFLPA rejected the offer immediately and instead offered a flat cap in 2021 to account for this year’s looming revenue hit.

The NFLPA’s focus remains on ensuring player safety through a variety of measures. Among them, canceling the entire preseasonreducing roster sizes, testing players for COVID-19 daily and providing the opt-out stipends.

Negotiations will likely continue throughout the week, but the expectation is an agreement will be reached. At that point, teams can start getting ready for training camp on July 28 and players will have a limited amount of time to decide if they will play this season.