Maurice Canady is the third player to opt out of the 2020 NFL season. Is a trend developing?
Dallas Cowboys backup defensive back Maurice Canady is the sixth NFL player that’s decided to opt out this season, according to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network. The former Baltimore Raven joins Kansas City Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, who was the first player to opt out of the season.
Since Duvernay-Tardif opted out of the season, two New England Patriots (fullback Danny Vitale and guard/center Najee Toran), Seattle Seahawks guard Chance Warmack and Ravens wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas have since opted out as well.
Players who decide to opt out of the season will be compensated. A player that is considered high risk for COVID-19 and decides not to play earns $350,000. A player who is not high-risk and still opts out will earn $150,000.
Canady tweeted, “Family first, money second.” Fringe players like Canady, Vitale and Toran might be part of a growing trend of players not guaranteed to make the final cut to opt out while still under contract with a team. This ensures they receive a salary for this season and either remain under contract with their current team — as De’Anthony Thomas is — or attempt to make a roster next season.
In addition to those players opting out of the season, six players have been put on the NFL Reserve/COVID-19 list. Teams do not have to disclose why those players have been put on the list, but it is likely due to either a positive test or possible exposure.
NFL teams also reserve the right to discipline a player who they deem contracted COVID-19 from “wreckless activity” off the field. Discipline could include being put on the non-football injury list and not getting paid.
With the NFL determined to have a season amid player concerns about safety protocols for players, coaches and staff, it might be wise for fringe players to take the COVID-19 compensation and try again next season.