The deadline the NFL set for players to opt out of the 2020 season and receive a stipend passed Thursday with no new Baltimore Ravens choosing to take that route.
Wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas and offensive tackle Andre Smith both informed the team last week they planned to miss the season and accept a stipend that could be taken out of next year’s salary, an option made available in the face of the coronavirus crisis. Nobody else on the team followed suit.
o while Thomas and Smith are veterans who entered the summer with chances to earn roles on Baltimore’s roster, the Ravens emerged from the opt-out period without glaring personnel holes. The team will need to decide who can best return punts and might want to consider adding an experienced tackle to back up two Pro Bowl starters. But those are modest training camp concerns for a title contender.
Under the NFL’s collectively bargained guidelines, players would be able to opt out and take home a stipend after Thursday’s deadline only if they receive a diagnosis revealing a high-risk condition or if a family member becomes hospitalized with COVID-19. With a significant checkpoint in the rearview, the Ravens’ roster didn’t take too big of a hit from players voluntarily sitting out during a pandemic.
Baltimore’s defense? Kapadia’s even higher on that group. He gave the Ravens’ D the No. 1 spot on his list after the team allowed the third fewest points and fourth fewest yards in the NFL last season. He praised coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale’s habit of sending blitz after blitz and noted the team’s offseason additions.
After holding opponents to the second-worst passer rating in the NFL last year, the Ravens revamped their front seven this spring by trading for Calais Campbell and selecting two inside linebackers and a defensive end within the first three rounds of the draft.