Caleb Brantley Is the First Player to Take NFL's High-Risk Opt-Out of Season During COVID-19

Players who choose the high-risk opt-out option will receive a $350,000 stipend and their contract will be pushed to the following year

Caleb Brantley
Photo: Wesley Hitt/Getty

A member of the Washington Football Team has become the first NFL player to elect the high-risk opt-out option for the upcoming season, according to the NFL transaction wire.

Defensive lineman Caleb Brantley will sit out the 2020 NFL season as he qualifies as "higher-risk" health-wise amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Washington Post reported.

While some players have already decided to voluntarily opt out of the season, the league is allowing negotiated deals for players who are "high-risk," which the NFL deems as being diagnosed with one of 15 different illnesses including sickle cell disease, cancer, hypertension, or high blood pressure.

Players who choose the high-risk opt-out option will receive a $350,000 stipend for the season and their contracts will be tolled until the following season, the NFL said. These players will also receive an accrued season toward free agency and benefits and salary credit for a credited season.

Voluntary opt-outs will receive a $150,000 salary advance and their contract will toll as well.

Any player who chooses to opt out of the 2020 season is required to inform their team within seven days of the deal being finalized.

According to NBC Sports, Brantley re-signed with the Washington Football Team in March for $750,000.

On Friday, Kansas City Chiefs star Laurent Duvernay-Tardif became the first NFL player to announce he would be voluntarily sitting out the season.

The offensive lineman shared a statement on Twitter, explaining that while the Chiefs' medical staff have "put together a strong plan to minimize the health risks associated with COVID-19," he is uncomfortable knowing that "some risks will remain."

"Being at the frontline during this offseason has given me a different perspective on the pandemic and the stress it puts on individuals and our healthcare system," Duvernay-Tardif shared. "I cannot allow myself to potentially transmit the virus in our communities simply to play the sport that I love. If I am to take risks, I will do it caring for patients."

Shortly after the Duvernay-Tardif news, Maurice Canady (Dallas Cowboys), Chance Warmack (Seattle Seahawks), De'Anthony Thomas (Baltimore Ravens) and Danny Vitale (New England Patriots) followed suit and announced their decisions not play in the upcoming NFL season.

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