FINAL FALLOUT FROM NFL COVID-19 OPT OUTS

BY ADAM GREENE

With the NFL’s arbitrary deadline passed we now know, as of Thursday night, who will and won’t be playing in the 2020-21 season.

For all the attention paid to the Aug. 6 line of demarcation, there wasn’t a lot of drama. Only Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White seemed to waffle as the countdown commenced, but he decided that playing was in his best interests. White would have unquestionably been the biggest name to sit out, but the Bills got lucky and will retain the services of one of the best corners in football.

A handful of teams got away unscathed, with the Los Angeles Chargers, Atlanta Falcons and Pittsburgh Steelers keeping their rosters intact. The New England Patriots were hit hard, losing eight players. The next closest team was the Cleveland Browns, who will do without the services of five players.

While that might seem like a lot for a team like the Browns, none of them were projected starters. The Pats, on the other hand, lost three guys that would have likely started; safety Patrick Chung, linebacker Don’t’a Hightower and wide receiver Marqise Lee.

Starters across the league, by and large, chose to roll the dice and play amidst the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic. Teams that did lose a first string guy were hit the hardest, even if they only lost a handful of players to the opt out. Offensive tackle Ju’Wan James was coming back from an injury and the Denver Broncos definitely needed him on their offensive line. He thought better of it. Luckily, the guy that stepped in for him last season, Elijah Wilkinson, has decided to return and since they’ve graded out about the same according to Pro Football Focus, that’s no loss (nor is it an upgrade).

The same can’t be said for the New York Giants who are in desperate need of an offensive tackle now after Nate Solder decided to sit out the season.

The Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs lost as a starter as well in guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif. Running back Damien Williams also decided to spend 2020 at home, but his might have been more a business decision. The Chiefs drafted his replacement, Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the first round of April’s draft. KC boasted the highest profile rookie taking a seat as third round pick Lucas Niang out of TCU took the opt out.

The biggest single name to opt out was linebacker C.J. Mosely of the New York Jets. Like James, he’s coming off a season lost to injury and it makes sense to wait it out a year if he wasn’t feeling 100 percent.

A guy like Geronimo Allison for the Detroit Lions or Devin Funchess with the Green Bay Packers, were probably going to make a roster. Allison seemed a good fit for the Lions, but his reasons for taking the cash and year off are his own. Funchess might have had a tougher time, but the Pack don’t have a lot of receiving options so that was working in his favor.

Outside of those few, most of these guys were on the roster bubble and may not have made a final roster anyway. By taking the opt out, they’ve guaranteed themselves an income for the next season whether the NFL can complete the year or not.

FULL LIST OF PLAYERS OPTING OUT OF THE 2020 SEASON

ARIZONA CARDINALS

Marcus Gilbert, OT

ATLANTA FALCONS

None

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Andre Smith, OT

De’Anthony Thomas, WR

BUFFALO BILLS

E.J. Gaines, CB

Star Lotulelei, DT

Carolina Panthers

Christian Miller, OLB

Jordan Mack, LB

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Isaiah Prince, OT

Josh Tupou, DT

CHICAGO BEARS

Jordan Lucas, S

Eddie Goldman, DT

CLEVELAND BROWNS

Malcolm Pridgeon, G

Colby Gossett, G

Andrew Billings, DT

Drew Forbes, G

Drake Dorbeck, OT

DALLAS COWBOYS

Jamize Olawale, FB

Stephen Guidry, WR

Maurice Canady, CB

DENVER BRONCOS

Ja’Wuan James, OT

Kyle Peko, DT

DETROIT LIONS

Russell Bodine, C

Geronimo Allison, WR

John Atkins, DT

GREEN BAY PACKERS

Devin Funchess, WR

HOUSTON TEXANS

Eddie Vanderdoes, DT

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

Marvell Tell, CB

Rolan Milligan, S

Skai Moore, LB

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Rashaan Melvin, CB

Lerentee McCray, DE/LB

Al Woods, DT

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Lucas Niang, OT

Damien Williams, RB

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, G

LAS VEGAS RAIDERS

Ukeme Eligwe, LB

D.J. Killings, DB

Jeremiah Valoaga, DE

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

None

LOS ANGELES RAMS

Chandler Brewer, OT

MIAMI DOLPHINS

Albert Wilson, WR

Allen Hurns, WR

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Michael Pierce, DT

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Matt LaCosse, TE

Marqise Lee, WR

Patrick Chung, S

Dont’a Hightower, LB

Brandon Bolden, RB

Marcus Cannon, OT

Danny Vitale, FB

Najee Toran, OL

New Orleans Saints

Cole Wick, TE

Jason Vander Laan, TE

NEW YORK GIANTS

Sam Beal, CB

Da’Mari Scott, WR

Nate Solder, LT

NEW YORK JETS

Josh Doctson, WR

C.J. Mosley, LB

Leo Koloamatangi, OL

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

Marquise Goodwin, WR

San Francisco 49ers

Shon Coleman, OL

Travis Benjamin, WR

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

Chance Warmack, G

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

None

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Brad Seaton, OT

TENNESSEE TITANS

Anthony McKinney, OL

WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM

Josh Harvey-Clemons, LB

Caleb Brantley, DL

FREE AGENTS

Larry Warford, G

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