AP sources: NFL owners offer opt out guidelines for players

An empty MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. (Ted Shaffrey/AP)

The NFL has offered opt-out guidelines to players who do not want to participate in the upcoming season due to the coronavirus, two people with knowledge of the offer told The Associated Press on Friday.

Players who decide they want to opt out have until Aug. 3 to do so, and they will receive a stipend from the owners, the people said on condition of anonymity because the offer has not been made public. The amount of the stipend has not been made available.

The players’ union negotiators have agreed to the plan, with the NFLPA executive committee voting unanimously in favour. But the 32 team player representatives must vote on it, one person said.

Should the plan be approved, it would eliminate one major obstacle to a full opening of training camps next week. Already, the sides have agreed to cancel all preseason games, as well as to a reduction in the number of roster spots in training camp from 90 to 80. The league also offered an extended acclimation period of 18 days for players, given that the coronavirus caused the cancellation of all off-season on-field activities at team facilities.

Economic issues remain a key talking point. Those discussions centre on how to handle revenue losses that would result from games played without fans or even cancelled games due to COVID-19.

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