As sports continue to fight COVID-19, players are starting to make sacrifices for their loved ones. And we agree… family comes first.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rappaport, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Marquise Goodwin opts-out of the 2020 season in response to the ongoing pandemic:
Source: #Eagles speedy WR Marquise Goodwin plans to opt-out for the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns. He has informed the team, who traded for him during the draft. Goodwin has a 5-month daughter after his wife previously had three miscarriages. Family is the most important.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 28, 2020
As the NFL explains, players who opt-out will receive a stipend of $150,000 and have their contracts tolled. Back in April, the Eagles and Goodwin agreed to a one-year contract restructuring that would have seen the 29-year-old earn $1.35 million, in addition to a possible $1 million in incentives.
The Eagles traded for the veteran receiver during the NFL Draft, acquiring him and the 210th overall pick from the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for the 190th overall pick. Since 2013, Goodwin has played in 75 games, accumulating 2,323 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Goodwin’s best year came in 2017, when he logged 52 receptions and 962 receiving yards. However, injuries have hurt the 29-year-old over the past two seasons. He played 11 games in 2018, and just nine games in 2019.
Are more opt-outs to come?
As we’ve been seeing in the past days, more and more players are starting to prioritize their safety over honoring their contracts. On Wednesday, New England Patriots safety Patrick Chung and linebacker Donta Hightower announced their intentions of not playing in 2020, according to NFL Network’s Michael Giardi.
With Goodwin’s decision, there have now been 21 players that have decided to forgo the season. It’s not hard to imagine that more will follow. As shown by Hightower, a two-time Pro Bowler, the talent of a player does not matter when it comes to their wellbeing.
While many players will heavily consider sitting out, others such as Carson Wentz and Patrick Mahomes have shown their desire to push through and play on despite the high risks that would be involved.
They will get their wish as it looks like the season will go on thanks to an agreement between the NFL and NFLPA:
Source: The NFLPA player reps approve the NFL’s proposal on their conference call. The deal is done. Let’s play football.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 24, 2020
Regardless of opt-outs, COVID-19 will continue to change the NFL, as preseason games have already been scratched and numerous new procedures, including temperature screenings and masks under helmets, have been implemented.
How does this affect the Eagles?
Any move that hurts a team’s depth is certainly negative. While Goodwin’s stats and health over the past were concerns, he still represented a speedy, experienced option for a team that has struggled heavily with finding reliability from their wideouts.
The Eagles will move forward with a few possibilities of reacting to this news. They could look to fill the hole with a free agent signing, with Taylor Gabriel and Jarius Wright both being decent veteran options that are available. Or, they can simply hedge their bets on the remaining veterans and rookies at their disposal and hope they come through.
While the team has relied on in-house options in the past when faced with lineup dilemmas, they may be more willing to look for outside help with so much uncertainty. Trying to have another winning season with practice squad players being relied upon would be tricky.
Beyond the team’s depth chart, the move raises questions of whether any other Eagles will follow Goodwin’s choice. As has been the case throughout the pandemic, everything is fluid. More outbreaks could cause players who want to play to reconsider. Or perhaps their minds are set.
For Goodwin, this move was absolutely the right call.
His family comes first, and to criticize him for choosing them over football would be outrageous. For now, the Eagles will have to respect Goodwin’s wishes and continue to protect their players from the disease.