The Atlanta Falcons, who run back Todd Gurley, catch a pass during an NFL soccer training session on Monday, August 3, 2020, in Flowery Branch, Ga.
John Bazemore | Pool | AP
The deadline for players to leave the upcoming National Football League season has officially expired, and more than 60 people have decided to sit at home for the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, the league said on Thursday.
The NFL deadline was 4pm. ET on Thursday for voluntary opt-ops, and the league allowed players with high-risk, pre-existing conditions to sit aside. Players who unsubscribe from the season receive $ 150,000, which is called "advance payment" and is paid back, while high-risk players have more detailed processes.
Players who opt out of Covid-19 due to the increased risk of contracting infection can only report known diseases to the teams before the outbreak of the pandemic. If approved, high-risk players will receive a $ 350,000 scholarship that does not have to be repaid if they are added to their current team's list in 2021.
According to a league memo received from CNBC, the NFL listed "CDC-defined" risk factors such as asthma, type 2 diabetes, organ transplants, and neurological disorders as reasons why players may miss the 2020 season.
"There are very good reasons why some of these players don't want to play," said Angela de Cespedes, partner at Saul Ewing Arnstein and Lehr.
However, De Cespedes, a Miami-based lawyer who has represented "interests" of Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium in the past, also warned that signing out is half the battle as players prepare for possible "unknowns" need that could arise this.
Tom Brady of the Buccaneers looks for an open recipient in the red zone during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp on August 4, 2020 at the AdventHealth Training Center in Tampa, Florida.
Cliff Welch | Icon Sportswire | Getty Images
The discussion about signing out of players has been a problem for some who feel that the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 is not worth the risk, even when the NFL's health and safety protocols have been established.
Notable players from teams like Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots decided against refusal due to the pandemic. Players are also at risk of losing their squad if another player outperforms in their position, de Cespedes said.
"Players who take this path must be fairly confident in their position as they are subject to trade (or will be released)," she said.
Players who deregister will not receive any medical benefits for the 2020 season. However, it is possible that they are exposed to potential breaches of contract.
De Cespedes said that if a vulnerable player goes down for security reasons and later breaks the Covid-19 security policy in public, it may open a door to potential club conflicts.
"I think there could be some issues that arise," said de Cespedes. "It doesn't mean you have to go around and stop wearing the masks and do whatever you want. You signed out because of concerns about your safety or the safety of someone in your immediate family."
This is one reason why de Cespedes called the NFL opt-outs a "moving target". The NFL and players are dealing with such health and safety issues for the first time, and she said it would be interesting to follow some of the unknown issues that will emerge in the coming months.
Another problem, de Cespedes said, is "contract disputes" if a high-risk player who signs out requests a trade after the roster has been drawn up, which guarantees that he will not have to pay back the Covid 19 payment. Although players who choose opt-outs also put their contracts on hold and the teams receive a cap, de Cespedes is looking to the next off-season.
After that Covid 19 year, should the NFL reach the finish line, what happens if a player is traded? Who is responsible for the money already paid? And would a player still have to refund the team if he is no longer on his list after a trade?
These are "some of the issues that need to be negotiated," said de Cespedes.
The NFL has not yet discussed with the National Football League Players Association whether the opt-out would apply to on-field soccer activities until 2021 if there are still major concerns about Covid-19. If the 2020 season is canceled, each player will receive up to $ 300,000 depending on their league and roster status.
The NFL has canceled its preseason due to Covid-19 and is slated to open on September 10th with the chiefs who house the Houston Texans.