None of the major sports have seen as many players opt out as the NFL. By latest count, a whopping 47 players have announced their decision. Now, the league is angling to push up the timetable for players to decide.
According to this report from ESPN’s Dan Graziano, the new deadline is expected to be this Thursday or Friday.
The initial deadline, as Graziano’s tweet indicates, was one week after the amended CBA was signed. Pushing up the deadline will give teams quicker clarity as to what their rosters will look like for the season. A vast majority of the league have had at least one player opt out. The longer the deadline, especially as the sports world witnesses the struggles baseball is having, the more opt outs there will be. Several more players today announced their decision to sit out, including Broncos’ offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James, who was slated to start against the Steelers in Week 2.
There are also some players expected to play this year but are making their concerns clear. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Browns’ WR Odell Beckham Jr. doesn’t believe the NFL should take the field.
But if appears OBJ will choose to play this season, for however long there is a season.
Pittsburgh’s on the shortlist of teams who’ve yet to have anyone on their roster opt out. But with the deadline nearing, and all players knowing they need to make a decision, the number of players who skip the year could spike. By week’s end, the numbers should easily top 50 players.
Those who voluntary sit out will receive a $150k stipend for the season, an advance of their 2021 salary. Players considered high-risk with an underlying medical condition will receive $350k.
UPDATE (8:05 PM): The deadline will be Thursday at 4 PM, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.