Dec 8, 2019; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver De'Anthony Thomas (16) gestures to fans while jogging on the field prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

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Five NFL players, one ‘higher risk,’ opt out of season

NFL rosters took a hit Monday when five players opted out of participating in the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, multiple media outlets reported.

One such move was officially announced by a team, with the Baltimore Ravens revealing that wide receiver/kick returner De’Anthony Thomas will skip the season.

The others who reportedly opted out were New England Patriots fullback Danny Vitale, Dallas Cowboys cornerback Maurice Canady, Seattle Seahawks guard Chance Warmack and Washington Football Team defensive end Caleb Brantley.

Brantley was placed on the reserve list by Washington with a “higher-risk” designation — the only one of the five opt-outs on Monday reportedly in that category. The distinction means that Brantley will receive a $350,000 stipend for this year that won’t count against future earnings, and he will be credited with a year of service time.

For the other players regarding as having opted out for totally voluntary reasons, they will get a $150,000 salary advance and their contract will toll.

Before Monday, the only NFL player who had opted out of the season due to the pandemic was Kansas City Chiefs offensive guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, who is a medical school graduate.

Thomas, 27, is forgoing a $935,000 salary this year. He split last season between Kansas City and Baltimore, averaging 5.7 yards on 26 punt returns and 18.9 yards on 17 kickoff returns. He also had one reception for 6 yards and two carries for 5 yards in 14 games.

Brantley, 25, played in 12 games (one start) for the Cleveland Browns in 2017, then came off the bench for Washington for seven games in 2018 and one game in 2019. He has 19 career tackles and two sacks.

Warmack, 28, didn’t play in the NFL last year. He made 48 starts at right guard for the Tennessee Titans from 2013-16, and he appeared in 20 games (three starts) for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017 and ’18. ESPN reported that he had a family member die from COVID-19 and that other family members had the illness.

Warmack had signed a $910,000 deal with Seattle in March.

Vitale, 26, was due to make $1.3 million this year. He has played for the Browns (2016-17) and the Green Bay Packers (2018-19). In 15 games (four starts) last year, Vitale had seven catches for 97 yards and one carry for 3 yards.

Canady, 26, played with the Ravens from 2016 until he was claimed off waivers by the New York Jets last November. In a combined 13 games (three starts) last year, he had 46 tackles, one interception and five passes defensed.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.


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