Patriots’ Devin McCourty says it’s ‘an absolute joke’ that NFL is moving opt-out deadline

The NFL wants to shorten the deadline for its opt-out policy because of concerns over players taking advantage of the situation, reports Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

From Pro Football Talk:

“Teams are concerned that some players who think they won’t make the team are choosing to opt-out and to take the six-figure stipend. While players apparently would owe the money back to the teams if they fail to make the roster in 2021, no team wants to have to chase a former player around next year in an effort to retrieve $150,000 or $350,000.

Another concern comes from an issue we’ve previously flagged: Some agents, per the source, are using the threat of an opt-out as leverage to get their clients new contracts.”

That report didn’t sit well with Patriots safety Devin McCourty.

“I think it is an absolute joke that the NFL is changing the opt-out period, mainly because they don’t want to continue to see guys opt-out. I’m sure they’re shocked about how many guys have opted out,” McCourty said Sunday during a Zoom call with reporters. “I think it’s terrible. I think it’s B.S. that the league has changed that date.”

MORE: Here’s a complete list of NFL players opting out of the 2020 season

As of Sunday, 42 players have made the decision to opt-out of the 2020 season, including eight Patriots players.

McCourty told reporters he intends to play.

“Monday will be our first day in the building, so to try to act like guys are trying to make a decision about something other than virtual meetings is a joke,” he said. “When players understand how much power we have, we’ve seen things change for us; primarily even with this deal, with the COVID-19 and trying to get everything back, we saw some of that strength. Hopefully, we’ll see how everything turns out come Wednesday, if it ends up being the deadline.

“I support guys no matter what they decide, but I’m still out here having fun and figuring things out. So, we’ll see how we go.”

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the opt-out deadline could be moved to Wednesday. The original deadline for players to opt-out was supposed to be a week after the altered CBA was ratified, but that hasn’t happened yet.

McCourty thinks the opt-out deadline should not be moved up because of the sides previously having an agreement.

“It’s the same thing when we signed the CBA. Sometimes, some of those things that we think are good sometimes backfire,” he said. “We have rookies that are locked in long-term contracts, and then [franchise] tagged and [franchise] tagged. You guys don’t think we would love to change that about the CBA? But we can’t. That’s the point of signing an agreement.”