The window closes at 4:00 p.m. ET. No one has passed through it yet, and there’s no indication that anyone will.
The negotiated deadline for opting out arrives today. Any player who signed his latest contract before October 1, 2020 may opt out for the season. (In theory, any unsigned draft pick may opt out, too, by simply refusing to sign his contract.)
There have been no rumblings that any player is seriously considering it. Once activated, it’s irrevocable for 2021. That’s one of the main reasons why Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers isn’t expected to do it, despite the significant financial benefits he would realize by doing so.
Others have suggested that perhaps Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson will opt out. That’s highly unlikely as well.
One potential source of opt outs could be players who have no desire to be vaccinated and no desire to live under 2020 rules while the vaccinated players are working like it’s 2019. Bills receiver Cole Beasley, for example, could press pause on his career for a year, if he’s as miffed as he claimed to be in recent weeks about the situation.
For players who opted out for 2020 or who have been diagnosed with a higher-risk condition since October 1, a $350,000 stipend is available. Any other player who opts out gets nothing this year, other than payments that already have been earned. For all opt outs, their contracts would simply toll for a year.
It will be a shock if anyone chooses to do it. By the end of the day, we’ll know whether anyone has done it.