Amid the coronavirus pandemic, NFL players are able to exercise an opt-out clause in their contracts for the 2020 season.
Players have until Aug. 3 to inform teams of their decision. Those who opt out do not count against the organization’s active roster.
Here are the Patriots who will not be playing the 2020 NFL season:
- Running back Brandon Bolden: Bolden saw action both in the running game and on special teams last season.
- Safety Patrick Chung: A key member of the secondary, Chung is expecting his second child. He signed a two-year contract extension in May, keeping him with the Patriots through the 2023 season.
- Offensive tackle Marcus Cannon: Cannon, a mainstay on New England’s offensive line, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma leading up to the 2011 NFL Draft. It’s likely he qualifies as a “higher risk player,” which would grant him a stipend of $350,000.
- Linebacker Dont’a Hightower: Hightower, an eight-year veteran and team captain, recently welcomed a newborn son with his fiancé, Morgan Hart. Additionally, Hightower’s mother has Type 2 diabetes. Without Hightower, the Patriots have lost much of their linebacker corps, as Jamie Collins, Elandon Roberts, and Kyle Van Noy all departed as free agents this offseason.
- Guard Najee Toran: Toran, 24, spent last season as a member of New England’s practice squad.
- Fullback Dan Vitale: Vitale signed a one-year deal with the Patriots this offseason and was expected to replace veteran James Develin, who announced his retirement in April.
- Receiver Marqise Lee: Lee signed a one-year deal with the Patriots in April. He cited the birth of his first child in February as part of his reason for sitting out.
- Tight end Matt LaCosse: LaCosse and his wife, Jessica, are expecting their first child due in November. He caught 13 passes for 131 yards last season.