NFL Opt Outs Through July 31

We still have a long way to go before the official opt out deadline passes- at a minimum it will be 7 days from the day I write this- but let’s look at where things are right now with the NFL.

Thus far officially there are 31 opt outs out of about 2,700 active player contracts in the NFL. Official means players who have given actual notice not simply reports that a player will opt out such even if the report comes from the player himself. Those players can still change their mind so we are not including them at the moment.

The Patriots lead the way with 5 opt outs far and away the most in the NFL. The next closest team has two opt outs. 10 teams have no official opt outs. They are the 49ers, Buccaneers, Cardinals, Chargers, Colts, Dolphins, Falcons, Raiders, Seahawks, and Steelers.

This list is different than the players who have been placed on the special Covid-reserve lists for either testing positive or quarantining because they came in contact with someone who was positive. 68 players are on that list, about 2.5% of all NFL players. A few have come off the list already and one has even been released. The Lions and Vikings lead the NFL with 7 players. The teams with no players currently on the list are the Patriots, Chiefs, Saints, Panthers, Texans, Cardinals, Chargers, and Seahawks.

I would expect the opt out list to grow when the details are finalized. As the rules stand right now there is a major financial risk to players with large guaranteed salaries this year who are locks to remain on the team in 2021 and/or 2022 regardless of guaranteed contract status. The risk comes from a season in which 16 games are not played as those players would basically just be forfeiting salary. On an opt out their full salary would transfer to 2021.

The drawback to the opt out is taking one more year to get to free agency but for non-rookies the odds are likely against that third contract anyway. Even for players on one year deals or at the end of their current contract the free agency delay may not be that bad since money is expected to be tight in 2021. This is dependent on the level of player (Ive held the belief that superstars are covid proof but the mid tier players earning say $4-9M per year are not), but should be a consideration. The NFLPA did a good job in getting solid options for their players here but hopefully this is being communicated to them.

Teams have saved a good amount of cap room, based on the rules we were told are likely to happen (all is subject to the final agreement so this can change) which can be rolled over to next year. Here is the list of savings thus far based on the official opt outs.

TeamPlayersCap Saved
Patriots5$19,481,249
Giants1$16,400,000
Bears1$7,700,000
Chiefs2$7,408,334
Bills1$7,350,000
Vikings1$5,000,000
Eagles1$4,231,250
Jaguars1$2,437,500
Packers1$2,215,625
Cowboys2$1,844,583
Ravens2$1,550,000
Saints2$1,425,000
Browns2$1,327,334
Broncos1$825,000
Texans1$825,000
Jets1$750,000
Football Team1$750,000
Lions1$675,000
Bengals1$675,000
Rams1$675,000
Titans1$614,166
Panthers1$610,000

Finally here is the list of players who have opted out of the season.

PlayerTeamOriginal Cap Number
Nate SolderGiants$19,500,000
Eddie GoldmanBears$10,800,000
Marcus CannonPatriots$9,622,916
Star LotuleleiBills$8,100,000
Patrick ChungPatriots$6,058,333
Laurent Duvernay-TardifChiefs$5,500,000
Michael PierceVikings$5,000,000
Marquise GoodwinEagles$4,281,250
Damien WilliamsChiefs$2,708,334
Al WoodsJaguars$2,437,500
Devin FunchessPackers$2,265,625
Brandon BoldenPatriots$1,987,500
Dan VitalePatriots$1,287,500
Maurice CanadyCowboys$1,231,250
Eddie VanderdoesTexans$825,000
Kyle PekoBroncos$825,000
Andre SmithRavens$775,000
De\’Anthony ThomasRavens$775,000
Cole WickSaints$750,000
Caleb BrantleyFootball Team$750,000
Leo KoloamatangiJets$750,000
Drew ForbesBrowns$717,334
John AtkinsLions$675,000
Chandler BrewerRams$675,000
Jason Vander LaanSaints$675,000
Isaiah PrinceBengals$675,000
Najee ToranPatriots$675,000
Anthony McKinneyTitans$614,166
Stephen GuidryCowboys$613,333
Jordan MackPanthers$610,000
Drake DorbeckBrowns$610,000

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Questions about this article? Reach Jason Fitzgerald on Twitter at @Jason_OTC