Are More COVID Opt-Outs Coming? Halas Hall Safety Protocols, Cap Considerations, and Other Bears Bullets

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Are More COVID Opt-Outs Coming? Halas Hall Safety Protocols, Cap Considerations, and Other Bears Bullets

Chicago Bears

Nothing encapsulates the summer like sitting in the back yard, listening to a baseball game, hearing bugs get fried in the zapper, and dreading the appearance of a Cubs closer in what was once a 7-0 game. Summer is here, baby.

And I’ll be honest. Part of me missed that gut-wrenching, heart-pumping thrill of helplessness while watching sports do its thing. Although, I’m not sure I’d be singing the same tune had the Cubs lost last night.

•   ICYMI: Eddie Goldman is opting out of 2020 (the season, not the year … if we could opt out of 2020 altogether, there wouldn’t be anyone left), citing health concerns related to COVID-19. This obviously hurts the middle of the Bears’ defense, where Goldman served as an anchor at nose tackle. Goldman effectively chewed up blockers and spit out running backs who dared run in his general area. But I can’t help but be supportive in a time like this when a player makes a difficult decision. Hopefully, Goldman can stay healthy and safe. I’m looking forward to his return in 2021.

•   Some financial details surrounding Goldman’s opt-out:

•   I imagine the Bears might be interested in filling Goldman’s shoes with a free agent. But preferably someone on a one-year contract at a reasonable rate. With the salary cap projected to dip to $175 million in 2021, the savvy move might be to roll anything saved in the year over to 2021 in order to help soften the blow.

•   JJ Stankevitz (NBC Sports Chicago) explores some of the on-field impact that will be felt by Goldman’s departure. It’s easy to think about the human nature of things, but there is also a football aspect of not having a key defensive lineman causing trouble for opposing offenses. Goldman is generally underrated because that just happens to be the plight of a nose tackle. So much effort and hard work for minimal recognition. It is so often their lot in life as a lineman.

•  Contextualizing the loss from PFF’s data-driven perspective:

•   It will be interesting to see if any other Bears follow in Goldman’s footsteps in opting out. There are any number of players whose opt outs could greatly impact Chicago’s football season. Players have until August 3 to make such a decision. The NFL’s official website is tracking opt-outs as they happen.

•   As of press time for this particular post, the opt-out list includes six offensive linemen and five defensive linemen. It’ll be six by the time it updates to include Vikings nose tackle Michael Pierce, whom Tom Pelissero tweets is opting out.

•   In our group text, Brett brought up something that was rattling in my mind. I’m curious as to what potential long-term physical impact will be for players who opt out. Because, yeah, they’ll be a year older when they come back. But they will also not have dealt with the physical wear-and-tear that comes with a regular football season. Store that away in the back of your mind and save it for a rainy day.

•   Veterans can start report to training camp today. And with the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing, things are going to be different for players showing up to Halas Hall (and other training facilities around the league). Check out our first look at the training camp calendar.

•   Follow Head Athletic Trainer Andre Tucker and Head Equipment Manager Tony Medlin as they take us on a tour of Halas Hall and shows the team’s COVID-19 safety protocols:

•   Touch-free entry at points that were previously high-contact (and thus, high-risk) areas. Thermal temperature scans. Proximity tracking. Social distancing. Re-configured meeting spaces. I tip my cap for heady precautionary measures taken by the Bears.

•   The Bears’ Infections Disease Emergency Response Plan being among sent, received, reviewed, and approved is some of the best news that could cross the wire:

•   I’ll gladly take whatever good news I can get to come in my direction.

•   A quick thought regarding the offensive side of the ball: Put Anthony Miller in the dang slot and let him cook whichever cornerback stands in his way:

•   Board games and card games among the Deals of the Day at Amazon today. #ad

•   There are some really good players who are still free agents:

•   It’s always nice to hear that old friends found some time to catch up in the offseason:

•   This tweet from Eric Ebron reminds me of the time a friend picked tight ends with his first two picks in our fantasy draft, citing advice he received from a bartender the night before:

•   Sorry if you had your hopes set on the Bears trading for 49ers running back Raheem Mostert. All is well that ends well in San Francisco, even if it sets an interesting precedent in the process:

•   The Royals are going to the Super Bowl!

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Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.