Atlanta Falcons: Three impact opposing players who have opted-out
The Atlanta Falcons had no players take the COVID-19 opt-out option for the 2020 season.
Just a few weeks ago, Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley had expressed that he was weighing his options and was going to wait and see what the NFL was going to have in place for player’s safety before deciding.
The COVID-19 opt-out date and time came and passed this last Thursday and Gurley along with all other Atlanta Falcons players decided that they were all-in for the 2020 season.
However, not every NFL team was as fortunate, 67 players from around the league decided to play it safe and opt out of 2020. For those that are unfamiliar, the players that decided to opt-out will be paid one of two ways.
According to the NFL and NFLPA, players who decided to opt-out for 2020 will receive salary advances from their 2021 salaries.
Those who opted out for medical reasons because they qualified as high risk regarding COVID-19 will receive a $350,000 advance while those that opted out voluntarily will receive a $150,000 salary advancement.
In total, there were 24 players that were scheduled to face the Atlanta Falcons who decided to opt out of 2020. Here are the three most significant.
1. Devin Funchess – Green Bay Packers
Devin Funchess is no stranger to the Atlanta Falcons as he spent the first four years of his career in Carolina with the Panthers. He was expected to be a major contributor this year in Green Bay with quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Funchess announced at the end of July he would opt out and explained his reasoning –
"“My closest family members have experienced the life-threatening impact of COVID-19 first hand and for their and my own safety, I’ve decided to opt-out of the upcoming NFL season."
The Packers decided not to pursue a wide receiver in this 2020 draft after signing Funchess as a free agent. He was the only Packers player to opt-out and it was a big one for them.
2. Eddie Goldman – Chicago Bears
Eddie Goldman opting out for the Bears is a huge blow to their defense. Goldman has started 46 of the last 48 for the Bears and 63 of his 67 career games.
Over the last three seasons with him in their starting lineup along with Khalil Mack, the Bears have had a top-five defense and Goldman does a great job at nose tackle of eating up blocks to allow Mack and the other pass rushers for the Bears to their job.
While Goldman isn’t a household name, this is a huge loss and one that Alex Mack, Chris Lindstrom, and James Carpenter will surely notice.
3. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif – Kansas City Chiefs
Like Eddie Goldman, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif isn’t a household name because of his position on the field, which is odd because many fans know his story as the only active NFL player that has completed medical school. He petitioned the NFL to have “M.D” added to his jersey because of his medical degree and was denied.
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is sitting out for a very different reason. As a licensed and active doctor, he has decided to sit out this season after helping the Chiefs win the Super Bowl, in order to continue working on the front lines of COVID-19.
This is a big blow to the reigning Super Bowl champs as he has started 57 games for the Chiefs during his career including all 14 regular seasons in which he appeared last season.
Here are the other players the decided to opt-out of the 2020 NFL season that were slated to face the Atlanta Falcons in 2020 – broken down by each opponent.
- Christian Miller, OLB
- Jordan Mack, LB
- Jordan Lucas, S
- Eddie Goldman, DT
- Jamize Olawale, FB
- Stephen Guidry, WR
- Maurice Canady, CB
- Ja’Wuan James, OT
- Kyle Peko, DT
- Russell Bodine, C
- Geronimo Allison, WR
- John Atkins, DT
Green Bay Packers
- Devin Funchess, WR
Kansas City Chiefs
- Lucas Niang, OT
- Damien Williams, RB
Las Vegas Raiders
- Ukeme Eligwe, LB
- D.J. Killings, DB
- Jeremiah Valoaga, DE
- Michael Pierce, DT
New Orleans Saints
- Cole Wick, TE
- Jason Vander Laan, TE
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Brad Seaton, OT