Many NFL players are opting out of the 2020 season ahead of the August 3rd deadline. Will any Pittsburgh Steelers follow suit.
NFL players have just days to decide whether or not to play the 2020 season or opt out this year. The NFL and the NFLPA reached an agreement earlier this month that would allow players to sit out the season due to COVID-19 concerns. With so many players already choosing this option, will any Pittsburgh Steelers follow?
As of Wednesday, no Steelers players have reportedly taken this option. However, the same cannot be said for many NFL teams. More than half of the league’s teams have already had at least one player who has opted out of the 2020 season. The New England Patriots currently have six who have chosen this option.
And it’s not backups who are sitting this season out. According to The Action Network, notable players like linebacker Dont’a Hightower, safety Patrick Chung, wide receiver Devin Funchess, and defensive tackles Eddie Goldman and Star Lotulelei are among the many who have already chosen to opt out.
Will the Steelers have any opt out players?
With another four days left to opt out, other players will certainly follow suit. Could we see any Steelers take this option?
It’s certainly possible. Players with family members at higher risk of the virus could error on the side of caution by opting out. These players that qualify as ‘high risk’ would receive a $350,000 stipend that will not be treated as a salary advance. However, all other players who opt out will receive $150,000 that will be treated as an advance in their salaries.
The possibility of not accruing a full season and taking another year to reach their next contract could play a factor in players deciding whether or not to proceed with this option. Cameron Heyward was a player who expressed concern over the matter earlier this offseason, noting that he has to weigh all options and do what is best for his family.
Though losing players to opt outs could hurt the Steelers some in 2020, they would hardly be the only team with players choosing this option, and there appears to be many teams with bigger disadvantages.
If Steelers players make it past the opt out deadline on August 3rd, the challenge then becomes staying on the football field. With the way things have been going, it’s possible that teams could be without many players for any given game if they test positive for COIVD-19 beforehand.
When it’s all said and done, 2019 is going to be a very unusual year for the Pittsburgh Steelers and all other NFL teams. Let’s hope that we will be able to enjoy another football season while keeping players safe.