The Patriots have now seen seven players opt out of the upcoming season with the latest being wide receiver Marqise Lee.
The 2020 NFL season is going to be unlike any we’ve seen before due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Players have the option of opting out and still getting some money if they decide they don’t feel safe suiting up and taking the gridiron this year.
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif of the Kansas City Chiefs got the opt out trend started last week and many players from teams around the league have followed in his footsteps. Some have chosen to opt out due to a family member being sick while others simply just don’t feel the risk is worth it.
The Patriots in particular have been hit hard by the opt outs, as wide receiver Marqise Lee is the seventh member of the New England Patriots to decide he doesn’t feel it’s worth the risk to suit up in 2020.
Of course when NFL fans see all of these Patriots players opting out, they assume this is on purpose and that they’re doing this so they can “Tank for Trevor [Lawrence]” so to speak. That’s an entertaining narrative, but honestly, these players doing this are doing so for their own safety and no one can fault them for that.
Who knows if we’ll even have a season in 2020 at this point? Major League Baseball, the only major sports league to not operate out of a bubble, is having a lot of issues trying to prevent outbreaks within clubhouses. The NFL won’t be operating out of a bubble and that’s going to prove challenging for them when it comes to limiting the spread of the virus.
As for Lee, he had yet to even play a snap for the Patriots. He spent the first five years of his career with the Jaguars after Jacksonville spent a second-round pick on him in 2014. He was looking to be a decent option for New England, who also have Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu, and N’Keal Harry on their depth chart.
The loss of Lee isn’t a dramatic one for New England, but losing seven players is a big storyline. Hopefully there is a season to be had and if there is, props to all of the players, including Lee of course, who made the bold decision not to suit up and play.