What NFL players would most devastate their team if they opted out due to COVID-19?
The NBA elected to put all of its players into a “bubble” in order to restart its 2019-2020 season. Logistically, two other big leagues — the MLB and NFL — could not or did not do the same. Because coaches, players and all other personnel are free to operate in their daily lives as they choose, the novel coronavirus is going to inevitably impact any non-bubble leagues. The havoc has already started.
Several players from the MLB’s Miami Marlins tested positive this week for COVID-19 and this resulted in a postponement of the team’s games. About 48 hours later, several NFL players began opting out of the 2020 season due to coronavirus concerns.
Although no absolute top-10 NFL superstars have bowed out, some notable names have chosen to sit out this season. Among them are the New England Patriots Dont’a Hightower, Minnesota Vikings Michael Pierce and Chicago Bears Eddie Goldman, to name a few.
Opt-outs and infections will likely affect all 32 teams by the time the season hits its stride. This year could very well feel like an episode of Survivor. But that’s just the way it is for now until a vaccine is created and implemented. So, get used to it.
The aforementioned NFL players can be replaced and the gridiron parade will proceed. Yet, potential opt-outs of gargantuan stars would send fans and the city of Las Vegas into a tailspin. It should be noted–none of the following players are rumored [at all] to be contemplating an opt-out. This is merely a commentary on players that various teams cannot afford to live without.
In order of ascending degree of importance to their team, here are the four players that would prove irreplaceable in the event of a COVID-related season opt-out.
Note: All stats are via Pro Football Reference.