The opt out deadline came and went in the NFL and 67 players decided it was best for their safety, and that of their family’s, to remain off the football field this year. The deadline came in the midst of major outbreaks across baseball teams in the MLB, which likely influenced individual player decisions. Despite safety protocols and frequent testing, the MLB is on a dangerous path that has left many wondering if the shortened season will make it to the end.
The NFL, and prominent names throughout the league, have had similar shifts in thinking as just over a month ago the league was “optimistic”, but now respected league veterans like Mike Tomlin are “not extremely confident” the league can make it through a full 16 games. Why would they be, after all?
The Steelers were fortunate to avoid any opt outs as many other teams around the league can not say the same. In this series, I will highlight the key opposing players of the Steelers 2020 season that opted out and what the projected match ups look like barring injury or further high-risk opt outs.
Week 5 vs Eagles:
Wide Receiver – Marquise Goodwin
The Eagles placed an emphasis this past offseason on speed at the receiver position. In drafting Jalen Reagor in the 1st round and John Hightower in the 6th, as well as acquiring Marquise Goodwin – their intent and strategy at the position seems pretty clear. Keep in mind, that the Eagles could end up employing a pretty unique offense this year, and need all the weapons they can get. Shortly after the draft there were some reports that the Eagles might employ two-QB packages with Carson Wentz and Hurts. If this unique set comes to fruition, the Eagles speedsters will be necessary to get the most out of it.
The Goodwin opt out isn’t a huge loss given the three other speedsters in their wide receiver room, but anytime you lose a 4.27 second 40 yard dash, and former Olympic athlete it hurts. It also forces Reagor into the starting spot despite his level of preparedness which is riskier in this 2020 season than most due to the lack of significant practice reps for rookies.
Jalen Reagor vs. Mike Hilton/Cam Sutton