Hightower adds to Patriots’ opt-out list
The Patriots already were going to have a completely different look after an offseason that saw Tom Brady and several key defensive players leave as free agents.
Now the coronavirus pandemic has added complications to the team’s efforts to rebuild its roster. Linebacker Dont’a Hightower said Tuesday that he’s opting out of the season, highlighting a list of several Patriots who won’t play.
A person familiar with the situation told the Associated Press that safety Patrick Chung also opted out. They join tackle Marcus Cannon, running back Brandon Bolden and fullback Danny Vitale, who were listed on the league’s official opt-out list Tuesday. ESPN reported that practice-squad guard Najee Toran also decided not to play.
Hightower’s decision was made out of concern for the health of his fiancée and child, who was born earlier this month. Cannon is a cancer survivor, having been diagnosed with NonHodgkin lymphoma during his final season at Texas Christian in 2011.
Cook reports to Vikings; Pierce opts out
Vikings running back Dalvin Cook reported to training camp on time, meaning he will not lose credit for the 2020 season, which would have made him a restricted free agent in 2021 instead of an unrestricted free agent. Cook’s camp had announced in June that he would hold out from all team activities until he receives a contract extension as he enters the final year of his rookie contract.
Meanwhile, Vikings defensive lineman Michael Pierce is opting out of the season because of respiratory concerns during the coronavirus pandemic. Pierce signed a three-year, $27 million contract in March and was expected to replace Linval Joseph at nose tackle.
Packers WR Funchess won’t play
Packers wide receiver Devin Funchess is opting out of the season, calling it one of the most difficult decisions he has ever made. His choice leaves the team without its only major offseason addition to their receiving group, one year after Davante Adams was the only Packer with at least 50 catches and 500 yards receiving.
Funchess, who announced his decision on Instagram, noted that some of his closest relatives “have experienced the life-threatening impact of COVID-19 first hand.”
Reports: Bosa now highest-paid defender
Defensive end Joey Bosa and the Chargers reportedly agreed to a five-year, $135 million contract, a record for an NFL defensive player, eclipsing the five-year, $125 million deal that defensive end Myles Garrett signed with the Browns less than two weeks ago.
No. 1 overall draft pick Joe Burrow and the Bengals reached an agreement in principle on a $36.1 million contract, pending a physical, which is scheduled for Thursday, according to the USA Today Network.
Mahomes now part-owner of Royals
Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes is joining the Royals’ ownership group. Mahomes, the star quarterback who led the Chiefs to the NFL title last season, was once a baseball prospect who was drafted by the Tigers in 2014. His father, Pat, pitched in more than 300 big-league games, mostly as a reliever.
Linebacker Dont’a Hightower is concerned for the health of his fiancée and newborn.