Patriots’ three-time Super-Bowl champion and Pro-Bowl ILB Dont’a Hightower is opting out of the 2020 season, league sources tell ESPN.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 28, 2020
Hightower is scheduled to make $8 million in base salary. He had a baby July 16.
Dont’a Hightower now becomes the fourth Patriot to opt out of 2020, joining OT Marcus Cannon, FB Danny Vitale and OL Najee Toran. https://t.co/NzfDCxgXEh— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 28, 2020
And so Patriots RB Brandon Bolden also is planning to opt out of the 2020 season, which would make him the fifth New England player to miss this season.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 28, 2020
Today has been a rough day for the New England Patriots and I haven’t even finished my morning Iced Tea from Dunkies. This was bound to happen as the guinea pig that is the MLB showed everyone just how quickly an entire sports league can turn into a disaster with this bastard that is coronavirus. The Marlins have had 17 guys test positive and because of the six degrees of separation other teams like the Phillies and the Yankees had to cancel games as they awaited their own COVID test results.
So if you’re an NFL player watching this quickly unfold, it has to make you think. Is this worth it? If you’re Dont’a Hightower and you’ve already made millions and millions of dollars and won three Super Bowls and you just had a baby, do you want to risk bringing that infection home with you? Even if you’re Clay Travis and you think the risk of getting into a car crash is worse (seriously), do you want to have the anxiety of worrying about that every day for the next several months? It seems like a lot of Patriots players are saying hell no.
Bert Breer was on Toucher and Rich this morning and half jokingly wondered aloud is this the price the Patriots pay for having a team comprised of a bunch of smart, thoughtful veterans. It’s a good question because if you’re a young player or a fringe roster guy you might not have secured the bag yet and you may never get another job that pays nearly as much as the NFL. So thats a risk you are a lot more willing to take than an established/paid veteran in this league. Especially when the average NFL career is like 3.3 years.
The question now is how much are the Patriots in trouble and what if even more players opt out? If you’ve listened to the McCourty brothers at all you have got to be worried about whether they’re going to play or not. Those two are intelligent and vocal guys and they have expressed valid, legitimate concerns with resuming play. Right now the Pats have lost their starting Right Tackle, their best Linebacker, a key special teams and depth RB, plus their fullback and another OL. All of this after the team was already tasked with replacing Tom Brady as well as key veterans like Jamie Collins, Kyle Van Noy, and James Develin.
To be brutally honest I don’t expect most of these leagues to finish the season. There’s just too many people interacting with one another and especially in the MLB with teams flying all around like its no big deal. Now imagine that with rosters triple the size in the NFL. The leagues that went with the bubble are the only real shot we have of seeing a completed season this year, but even the NBA has dudes hitting up the strip club for some drums and flats. I don’t know about you, but a strip club is one of the last places I’d want to be during a freaking pandemic. The NHL may be the only league to get through the year as they have a bunch of historically laid back homebodies in hockey players quarantined up in Canada.
Now I’m not going to panic about the Patriots just yet because I tend to agree with my friend here below, even if it is because I’m wearing rose tinted glasses that Belichick and Brady fused onto my face over the last 20 years.
Am I a piece of shit because I still believe that in the current NFL climate, the Patriots will be better than most people expect because Bill Belichick will have them far better prepared and everyone else will be a mess by comparison?— Matt Dolloff (@mattdolloff) July 28, 2020
But that’s assuming we even get to the start of the season. Players weren’t even due to report yet and the Patriots had five guys opt out. Lets watch this Marlins story play out a bit more and see if MLB can get back on track because we’re less than a week into the season and it already has the makings of a doomsday scenario.
However, if MLB can’t stem the outbreak and more importantly assuage any player concerns, it could be the harbinger of bad news for the NFL in 2020.