NFL sets deadline for players to opt out, OKs salary-cap relief

NFL players who decide to opt out of the coming season must do so by Thursday afternoon. There also are opt-out provisions for players who experience emergency or extenuating circumstances during the season due to the coronavirus,

SHARE NFL sets deadline for players to opt out, OKs salary-cap relief
The NFL and the players’ union have agreed on coronavirus opt-out provisions and salary-cap relief.

The NFL and the players’ union have agreed on coronavirus opt-out provisions and salary-cap relief.

Keith Srakocic/AP

NFL players who decide to opt out of the coming season must do so by Thursday afternoon, a person familiar with the agreement between the league and the players told The Associated Press.

There also are opt-out provisions for players who experience emergency or extenuating circumstances during the season due to the coronavirus, the person said, speaking to the AP on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the changes to the collective bargaining agreement have not been made public.

Another person with direct knowledge of the agreement between the league and the players’ union said that relief in the 2020 salary cap is being provided to the 32 teams. If a player opts out, his contract is paused for a season. Any signing bonus that was being applied to the salary cap in 2020 now will be delayed a year.

Already, some four dozen players have opted out of playing due to the pandemic. By not applying any signing bonuses to 2020, several million dollars could be freed up for signing new players. That gives teams more flexibility should players contract the coronavirus and be unavailable.

The league and union also set parameters for fines and suspensions for any personnel not adhering to health and safety protocols.

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