Players around the NFL continue to opt-out of the 2020 season as the COVID-19 pandemic presses on. Starters and backups from almost all teams have taken the tough decision of not playing this season thanks to the options the NFL and the NFLPA agreed to recently. For the Dallas Cowboys, no starter or important backup has opted out yet, as we await the opt-out deadline.
Originally, Monday, August 3rd was set to be the deadline for players to make the irrevocable decision of not playing football in the upcoming season. However, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, that date could be moved up to Tuesday or Wednesday. Meanwhile, Pro Football Talk is reporting that owners want to shorten the opt-out window for fear of players and agents using it in bad faith.
Although the deadline remains unclear, Dallas Cowboys fans have spent some time worrying about Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence's status. When players used their social media accounts to speak on the NFL's lack of protocols a couple of weeks ago, Lawrence let his concerns be known.
“Shoot, I love to ride with my brothers and play the game. When I have to take that away from myself, it’s hard and I don’t want to make a decision like that. But I also have to make sure I’m taking care of my family. Family is No. 1. After the game of football is done, that’s the only thing I have to depend on so I’ve got to take care of them.” Lawrence said to ESPN's Todd Archer.
Demarcus Lawrence – whose $16.9M base salary for 2020 is second only to Dak Prescott among #Cowboys – reported but can still opt out if he decides playing is unsafe as wife expects baby in Oct. A source told me they would be “completely shocked” if he chose not to play.
This should translate into a huge sigh of relief for Cowboys fans. Lawrence, a premium edge rusher, is the best player on the team's defense, despite his sacks decreasing in 2019. He still found a way to create pressure for opposing quarterbacks and excelled in run defense.
Of course, as we've learned during this pandemic, anything can change at any given second. The NFL is doing its best to play a full season this year while they're learning from Major League Baseball as they deal with various COVID-19 issues after starting their season in late July.
If players are not happy with how the league plans to play, they can still opt-out for what's effectively a $150,000 loan, or for a $350,000 stipend if they're high-risk individuals. As of right now, 38 players from 22 teams have decided not to play.