NFL players must decide by July 2 if they plan to opt out of playing this season due to COVID-19 concerns, though voluntary opt-outs will not be paid any stipend this year.
In a memo sent to clubs Wednesday and obtained by The Associated Press, the league and the NFL Players Association agreed that only high-risk players will receive a stipend of $350,000. Voluntary opt-outs got a $150,000 stipend in 2020.
To qualify as a high-risk, a player must have opted out last season and have an effective contract executed before Oct. 1, 2020, or have been newly diagnosed with a CDC-defined higher-risk condition. Rookies wouldn’t be eligible unless they were diagnosed with a high-risk condition after signing a contract.
The contract for any player who opts out will toll at the end of the year and all provisions of the 2021 contract will become applicable to 2022. For players under contract beyond 2021, all subsequent years will be extended.
The NFL and the players’ union also agreed that fully vaccinated players who have a per game roster bonus are eligible to receive that bonus even if they miss a game because of a COVID-19 diagnosis.
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