NFL logo at midfield during 2019 season
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL came under fire from one of its biggest stars after word leaked that the league would move up the deadline for players to opt-out for the 2020 season. While players now only have until Thursday to decide, the league is reportedly extending an olive branch after the deadline.

With the NFL and NFL Players Association finalizing terms on the collective bargaining agreement for the upcoming season, the opt-out deadline is set for Thursday at 4 p.m. EST. However, it won’t be the last chance for some to sit out this year.

NFL creates exception for players to opt-out after deadline

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to many players expressing concerns about playing football during this health crisis. As more personal accounts from players detailing their health complications from the coronavirus come out, concern is more prevalent than ever.

Fortunately, the NFL isn’t totally shutting the door on players opting out. As NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported, some will be permitted to opt-out at a later date depending on family or medical circumstances.

While specifics weren’t provided, a few cases immediately stand out as potential examples. New York Giants tackle Nate Solder is sitting out this year. Not only is he a cancer survivor, but his son is also battling cancer.

Philadelphia Eagles receiver Marquise Goodwin also won’t play this year after he and his wife welcomed a new baby, following years of tragedies that once made having a family seem impossible.

We will likely see more players petition to be allowed to opt-out once the deadline passes. While the NFL might try and contest some, it would be a PR nightmare for the league to force a player to play during the pandemic.

What NFL players are opting out?

The NFL didn’t anticipate the number of players who would sit out this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the deadline now set for Thursday, 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 WilliamsLaurent 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
  • Denver Broncos: Ja’Wuan James, Kyle Peko
  • Cincinnati Bengals: Josh Tupou, Isaiah Prince
  • Detroit Lions: Geronimo Allison, John Atikins
  • Cleveland Browns: Drake Dorbeck, Drew Forbes
  • Las Vegas Raiders: D.J. Killings, Jeremiah Valoage
  • Chicago Bears: Eddie Goldman, Jordan Lucas
  • Washington Football Team: Caleb Brantley, Josh Harvey-Clemons
  • Carolina Panthers: Jordan Mack, Christian Miller
  • Los Angeles Rams: Chandler Brewer
  • 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
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