NFL players have a week from today to declare an irrevocable opt out for the 2020 season. Football players and fans alike would like nothing more than to exercise an opt out on the 2020 year so far. You will find no blame laid at the feet of professional athletes who decide that the threat of contracting COVID-19 is too great to risk. There are those with preexisting condition themselves. Family members to worry about. In the case of Buccaneers left tackle Donovan Smith there is the blessing of a soon arriving baby.
Steady As She Goes
Smith has been the starter at left tackle since arriving from Penn State back in 2015. When you say he has been the starter, this is quite literal. He just does not miss games. Even at Penn State. After redshirting his first year, Smith would become a starter in 2012 and would start 31 games during his college career. He has been a mainstay on the left side of the Buccaneers offensive line since coming into the league. Over the last five years he was the backside dance partner to Jameis Winston.
A new contract last March saw exactly what the value of availability could be. A lucrative three year, 41.5 million dollar contract. The tackle is due to make 16.5 million this season. With the addition of Tom Brady to the Buccaneer backfield, the offensive line has been a hot topic in Tampa Bay.
Players who opt out as high risk candidates will receive a $350,000 stipend. Voluntary opt-outs will receive a $150,000 salary advance on their 2021 salary. Players have until a week from today to exercise this option.
As for Smith. He is due $16.5 million for the season. $14.5 million of which is guaranteed. This would push forward to the 2021 season if he were to exercise the opt out. The third and final year of his contract is for 17.25 million. A base salary of 14.25 million and 3 million deferred. None of which is guaranteed.
Big Decisions In 2020
As with each and every one of this so far during this trying year. These players have big decisions to make. Nobody will be judged by their right to exercise an opt out due to COVID-19. There will be implications these players will have to deal with. Implications that their agents must surly be making them aware of.
No matter the decision being made. No matter the course of action taken. Players will have to make these decisions themselves. Like all of us this year. The decision will not always be clear or easy. But they will have to be made.