NFL players who wish to opt out of the 2021 season due to COVID-19 concerns will not receive a stipend this fall. Last year, players were given the opportunity to voluntarily opt out of the season, citing COVID-19 concerns. Any player who did so received a $150,000 stipend in lieu of his salary.
July 2nd has been announced as the deadline for NFL players to opt out of the upcoming 2021 season. Only those players who are deemed “high-risk” will receive a stipend, which will pay $350,000. In order to be considered “high-risk,” a player must meet the following criteria, per ESPN: Have opted out of the 2020 season and have an effective contract executed before October 1, 2020, or, have been newly diagnosed with a CDC-defined higher risk condition. Incoming rookies are not eligible for the 2021 stipend, unless they were diagnosed with a high-risk condition after signing their rookie deal.
Both the NFL and the players union agreed that fully-vaccinated players who have per-game roster bonuses will still receive those bonuses if they have to miss games because of COVID-19. Contracts for opt-out players will toll at the end of the season, and all contract provisions will become applicable next season.
In 2020, a total of 67 NFL players decided to opt out, including Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley, San Francisco receiver Travis Benjamin, Giants tackle Nate Solder, and Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower.
The NFL and NFLPA previously agreed to reduce restrictions for players who are fully vaccinated. Such players will not have daily COVID tests or have to wear face coverings.
The NFL and NFLPA have agreed to updated COVID-19 protocols for 2021 training camp and preseason, per source.
How different will life by for vaccinated and unvaccinated players? From the memo that just went to clubs: pic.twitter.com/8yMPW0JBWZ
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) June 16, 2021
Most NFL teams will report to training camp the last week of July. Both the Steelers and Cowboys are eligible to report as soon as July 21st since they’ll be participating in the league’s Hall of Fame Game August 5th.