NFL Opt-outs have given some rookies increased opportunities
The 2020 off-season has been anything but normal, especially for rookies. The current global pandemic has altered reality for every NFL team, coach, and player. Free agency was altered. the draft was held virtually, most off-season activities were canceled, and now the NFL and NFLPA had to negotiate new guidelines for the season, as well as training camp.
As training camp nears, veteran players are beginning to utilize their opt-out option. Some players feel that playing this season would not be in the best interest of them and their families. With padded practices starting soon, coaches have to begin formulating a game plan without the players that decided to forgo the season. A total of 69 players decided to opt-out of the 2020 season.
There may be a bright side to opt-outs, however. Veteran players missing the season will open the door for rookies to contribute. Rookies who may have been in a rotational role in a normal season will be thrust into a full-time role. There are also more opportunities for undrafted free agents to make rosters or practice squads.
Some teams have been hit harder than others. No team lost more players than the New England Patriots. The Patriots added a flurry of players in this year’s draft. The door has opened for most of those rookies to become real contributors.