The players of the National Football League who decide to skip the next season will have until Thursday to express their intention.
This was entrusted to the Associated Press on Tuesday, a person familiar with the agreement reached between the league and the players.
This person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the changes to the collective agreement had not yet been made public.
This same source added that additional clauses have been arranged for players who will face, during the season, an urgent situation or extenuating circumstances related to the coronavirus.
These clauses would protect any player facing a serious family situation related to COVID-19 or struggling with a high-risk medical condition after Thursday's deadline.
Any player who chooses to skip over and is in the high risk category will receive an allowance of $ 350,000 in 2020 and have their contract frozen. Players in the voluntary opt-out category will receive an amount of $ 150,000 as an advance on a contract.
According to another person briefed on the agreement between the two parties, the teams will benefit from additional leeway in the face of the salary cap in 2020.
If a player chooses to deadlock, their contract will be frozen for the rest of the season. Any signing bonus that was applied to the salary cap in 2020 will be delayed for one year.
So, for example, if a player signed a four-year deal with a signing bonus of US $ 16 million, a sum of US $ 4 million would normally be applied to the salary cap during each of the four seasons of the contract. However, this amount of 4 million will not be applied to the salary cap in 2020, even if the player has received all of his bonus.
Already, forty players have announced their voluntary withdrawal because of the pandemic. By not applying the signing bonuses to the 2020 season, several million dollars could then become available to hire new players. This provides more flexibility for teams in the event that players contract the virus and become unavailable.
Previously, players with no official season of seniority and non-draft free agents who fit in the high risk category were not eligible for the $ 350,000 allowance. Under the new agreement, they will be.
Another change will allow clubs to activate a player from the practice squad on match day if the squad has lost a player to the coronavirus. In the past, such a maneuver was allowed until Saturday afternoon.
The league and the union have also established parameters relating to fines and suspensions for any member of a team who does not comply with health and safety protocols.