The NFL has finally set a hard deadline for players to exercise their option to sit out the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns. We've seen three Dallas Cowboys already opt out, and there's been speculation about another that would dramatically alter the team's competitive ability this year.
Since the beginning of last week, the following players have chosen to sit out the season:
While both Olawale and Canady were likely to make the 53-man roster the Cowboys can adjust to those losses. The fullback position isn't a huge part of the modern offense, and Canady was one of many cornerbacks competing for a spot on the depth chart.
Guidry is an undrafted rookie who probably wasn't going to do more than make the practice squad this season, if even that.
All three players' contracts will be pushed to 2021. As long as Dallas doesn't release them, they will return to compete in next year's training camp.
Now the rest of the Cowboys players, and the NFL in general, has a little over a day to utilize the opt out provision. So far there's only one other player who's given an indication he could sit out, and he's definitely a big one.
DeMarcus Lawrence, the Cowboys' franchise DE and arguably the best player on the entire defense, has been vocal about his concerns of playing in 2020. A huge factor for Tank, as it has been for many player who've opted out, is having a pregnant wife/girlfriend and not wanting to introduce the risk.
Lawrence has reported to training camp and, as of last weekend, appears ready to play in 2020. But the old saying “deadlines make deals” kind of applies in this situation; could DeMarcus still be weighing things and finally get pushed to the other side?
Maybe it won't be Lawrence. Nobody saw the other three players coming, or any of the numerous others throughout the league. Perhaps someone else on the roster has been mulling the opt out and will make it known today or tomorrow.
At least now we know when that opportunity will end. No player should be criticized for making that choice, but there's still a season to prepare for and Dallas needs to know who they do and don't have in 2020. That picture will be much clearer after Thursday's deadline.