Two Cleveland Browns offensive linemen decide to opt-out of the 2020 NFL season.
The NFL has been battling with the uncertainty of COVID-19, as they have been putting in plenty of new regulations to help players and staff feel safe. One of the options the league has given is allowing players to opt-out of the 2020 season if they do not feel safe, which is what two Cleveland Browns decided to do on Wednesday.
Cleveland Browns offensive linemen Drew Forbes and Drake Dorbeck opted-out of playing the 2020 season, according to the team. With their decisions to opt-out for the season, neither Forbes nor Dorbeck are able to change their decisions at any point.
Both the NFL and the NFLPA mutually agreed to the opt-out provision during negotiations about how to handle COVID-19. The deadline for players to opt-out will be seven days after the NFL and the NFLPA officially sign the new collective bargaining agreement.
Players who decide to opt-out of the 2020 will have their contracts toll to 2021, and they will also receive stipends. If a player opts-out due to an approved medical reason, they will receive a $350,000 stipend. If players opt-out due to other coronavirus concerns, they will receive a $150,000 stipend, except for undrafted rookies.
It is currently unknown if Forbes or Dorbeck decided to opt out because of medical concerns. Dorbeck, who signed as an undrafted free agent this offseason, would not be eligible for the stipend if his decision is not because of a medical reason.
Forbes’ decision to opt-out will impact the competition for the starting right guard job. The second-year lineman was expected to compete with Wyatt Teller and Chris Hubbard during training camp to determine who would be the starting right guard. Forbes appeared to be the most likely to take the job away from Teller.
Forbes also provided the Browns with a versatile lineman who can play guard or tackle, with also the possibility of making snaps as the backup center. His decision to opt-out will open a roster spot for another offensive lineman to attempt to snag during camp.
Dorbeck had long odds of making the Browns roster no matter what, as tackle will be a competitive position during training camp. He had a chance to land a spot on the practice squad, but would have still needed to impress during camp to do so.
Although Forbes and Dorbeck are the first Browns to opt-out, they are the third and fourth Browns players to be affected by COVID-19. Dontrell Hilliard and Jovante Moffatt were among the first six players in the league to land on the NFL’s new reserve/COVID list. Unlike Forbes and Dorbeck, Hilliard and Moffatt will be eligible to return once they are cleared by COVID testing or if their self-quarantine is completed.