The New Orleans Saints remain mostly intact as opt-out deadline passes
By Bob Garcia
Only two Saints players have opted-out, although two more are on a COVID-19 watch list
4 PM yesterday was the deadline that the NFL established for those players and staff who wanted to opt-out from this year’s season due to the coronavirus pandemic to make their final decision, as per an agreement reached by the league and the NFL Players Association. The New Orleans Saints is excited about the upcoming season, especially because only two players decided to take the deal and the rest of the players are ready to fight for the Super Bowl title this year. The only players who will be missing football action this year are Jason Vander Laan and Cole Wick, but they had made their decision last month.
The Saints haven’t been as affected as other teams. For instance, the New England Patriots have more players to replace after eight of them chose to skip the 2020 NFL season. But for the Saints, the team has been getting a lot of attention since the beginning of the year as many experts believe that this roster that the franchise has put together for this season is poised to make a full run all the way to the Super Bowl, and it seems that all players are fully aware of this.
Although Vander Laan and Wick are the only two Saints to be out for the season, linebacker Kaden Elliss and long snapper Zach Wood were put on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, which means they either have the virus, had a false-positive test or have come into contact with someone who is positive for COVID-19. It is believed that both could have had false-positives and are being retested.
On Wednesday, head coach Sean Payton mentioned during a press conference that he believes that those franchises that are able to avoid the coronavirus in the most effective way are the ones who will make it to the playoffs. In order to achieve this isolation from the virus, the Saints have rented a large portion of the Loews hotel to create their own type of bubble before the beginning of the season scheduled for next month. “Payton pointed out how avoiding the virus will likely be a hallmark of all the playoff teams. Keeping [COVID-19] out is going to rank right up there with talent and execution this year. Paramount to success. Why they have the hotel for now,” wrote Nick Underhill from The Athletic.