NFL players could again opt out for 2021 season?
Detroit Lions left tackle Taylor Decker generated headlines last week when he said he's not getting vaccinated. Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

NFL players could again opt out for 2021 season?

A total of 69 NFL players opted out of the 2020 season due to concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Per an agreement between the NFL Players Association and league owners, "high-risk" players received a $350,000 stipend, while voluntary opt outs received $150,000 that was a salary advance on contracts that tolled to the 2021 campaign. 

According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith explained during a Monday call with recently drafted and signed rookies that the union wants to negotiate the right for players to opt out of the 2021 season, as well: 

The NFL and NFLPA are urging all personnel to receive COVID-19 vaccine shots, but the league is not yet mandating players get vaccinated to participate in upcoming preseason and regular-season matchups. Detroit Lions left tackle Taylor Decker generated headlines last week when he said he's not getting vaccinated.

Colorado Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond is an example of an athlete who has opted out of back-to-back seasons amid the health crisis, and Smith's update suggests at least some NFL players are considering doing the same between now and later this summer. With safe COVID-19 vaccines available and effective, however, owners might request in upcoming talks that all contracts, even those attached to high-risk players, be rolled over to 2022 for anybody who opts out. 

Zac Wassink is a football and futbol aficionado who is a PFWA member and is probably yelling about Tottenham Hotspur at the moment. Erik Lamela and Eli Manning apologist. Chanted for Matt Harvey to start the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series at Citi Field. Whoops. You can find him on Twitter at @ZacWassink

More must-reads:

Customize Your Newsletter

+

Get the latest news and rumors, customized to your favorite sports and teams. Emailed daily. Always free!

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.