While the COVID-19 pandemic is under much better control now compared to this time last year, players will still be given the option to opt out of the upcoming season.
According to the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, players will have until 4 pm ET on July 2nd to inform their team if they’re opting out of the 2021 season. Players deemed “higher risk” for COVID-19 are again entitled to a $350,000 stipend, but voluntary opt-outs will not be compensated. The stipend for voluntary opt-outs in 2020 was $150,000.
Last year, 67 players opted out of the 2020 season, and that number figures to be drastically reduced this year with COVID-19 vaccines now available. The only Bengals to opt-out were offensive tackle Isaiah Prince and defensive tackle Josh Tupou.
Prince was, and still is, a longshot to make the roster anyhow. Tupou however, has been a solid rotational interior lineman, while the Bengals finished 29th in rushing defense and 31st in yards per rush allowed in 2020.
While Tupou’s roster spot is far from guaranteed this year, the hope is he’ll be back to form and help the 2021 Bengals make big strides at stopping the run.
NFL players have until 4 p.m. ET next Friday, July 2 to inform their team if they’re opting out of the 2021 season, per source.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) June 23, 2021
“Higher Risk” players for COVID again are entitled to a $350,000 stipend. Voluntary opt-outs get nothing. (Last year, their stipend was $150,000.)