Free Agents

If you are a veteran player in the NFL who has been cut by several teams why wouldn’t you opt-out?

Cole Wick
If you were a player who bounced around from team to team why wouldn’t you take the 150k bonus and call it a day?

I have been sitting here thinking for a little while about the whole opting out thing and it makes sense. If you look at the players who have opted-out so far in the NFL they are either players who have made tons of money already in their contracts, and have guaranteed money or they are players who are on the brink of getting cut anyway.

I am not trying to be a negative Nancy here but let’s think about this. If you have been a journeyman NFL player over the past few years and you are on a stacked football roster, why wouldn’t you get a check of 150,000 dollars and try next year to make it? If you get cut you are not going to make that kind of money anyway right? They call it a salary advance, so my question is if it is a salary advance and you do not make the team but you are under contract, do you have to repay it?

I was looking at the players cut and they were players like Cole Wick, and other guys who have been roster bubble guys. The guys who have been paid and have guaranteed money are one thing, but if you are a roster bubble guy and have been on several teams and worked out for several teams you have to at least consider this right?

Like do you think that Cole Wick was going to make the roster in New Orleans? No offense to Cole Wick he is a small schooler from Incarnate Wood and I am a big fan of his, but he has been around the league on five different teams and spent time recently in the AAF. By him opting out he gets a check for 150k. This would allow him to try to make the team the next year, but if he doesn’t then he would have to pay back the roster money? I am trying to get clarification on it because it does not make sense. The only way he was going to make that money was if he made the roster. He didn’t have a major signing bonus and this was his fifth team.

If a player wishes to opt out, he must provide his club with written notification within seven days of the date that the NFL and NFLPA finalize the agreement that includes the terms of such opt-outs.

To be designated a voluntary opt-out, a player must be under contract or subject to a tender. The player’s contract will toll and all provisions of that contract for the tolled year will be applicable the following season; however, he will not receive an accrued season. The player will be eligible for a stipend of $150,000 to be treated as a salary advance against his tolled contract; an undrafted free agent, however, is not eligible for the stipend.

A higher-risk opt-out will receive an accrued season toward free agency and all benefits and minimum salary credit for a credited season and is also eligible for a stipend of $350,000, which will not constitute a salary advance. We know that players like Marcus Cannon who had cancer in the past is a higher risk player, so he will receive more. I am not sure if Cole Wick or some of the other players are not a high risk player but if they are they could received 350 and a season added as a credited season. And they do not have to pay this stipend back.

I am not a genius here but that is pretty cool. If you are not on the team the year after I doubt they are going to make you pay it back. So with that being said, it is not a free 150k dollars but it is a pay advance to a company you may not be with the year after. So are they going to make you pay that back? How many more are going to take this option in 2020?

Added ON:

I have been contacted by several players after posting this, many feel that if a player is just there to get a 150k dollar check to work the system they should quit. I was shocked by the response. I have to say too I was not using Cole as a poking bear, I do not know if he does in fact suffer from an illness. I was just trying to make a point after Andrew Brandt came out yesterday and told players to opt-out. I thought it was an interesting take so I wanted to throw out the idea. I think overall we will see many more opt-out soon. Many have taken a beating on their bodies and many are already contemplating hanging up their cleats. Some do not think they will make a team while others feel they can. Everyone is different.

So, I talked to an agent and he said this. If you decide to opt-out, you will be given a 150k dollar stipend. You will not however be given a year of service, and the contract you were signed under for the 2020 season will be the contact you receive the following year. The team will then collect the 150 salary advance from your 2021 contract. What we don’t know is if the player does not make the team does he have to pay it back?

This agent said, he would not make his player to pay it back. He would take them to arbitration. He would not pay the NFL back if they did not make the roster in 2021. Interesting.

Damond Talbot

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at

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