Cowboys CB Opts Out of 2020 Season Due to COVID-19

Jerry Jones

Getty Jerry Jones

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Maurice Canady announced via Twitter on Tuesday that he’s voluntarily opting out of the 2020 NFL season over concerns about the coronavirus.

“Family first money second #staysafe,” he tweeted.

Canady, 26, signed a one-year, $1.25 million deal with Dallas in March. He appeared in eight games and made two starts for the Jets in 2019, claimed off waivers from the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 6. He finished his truncated New York tenure with 25 tackles and two pass breakups.

Prior to that, across five games with the Ravens last season, he made 21 tackles, three pass deflections, one interception, and a forced fumble.

Canady entered the NFL as a 2016 sixth-round draft pick by Baltimore. He played in just two games as a rookie until landing on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. That’s been the story of his professional life — a distinct inability to stay healthy.

Nonetheless, the Cowboys ticketed Canady for defensive snaps, on top of his predicted special teams contribution, after losing star CB Byron Jones (Dolphins) and starting safety Jeff Heath (Raiders). He was tentatively stationed alongside in-house corners Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie, and Anthony Brown, whom the club re-signed to a three-year contract.

Canady is eligible for a $150,000 stipend after finalizing his opt-out, per the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, recently revised to combat the pandemic.

He’s the second Cowboys player in as many days to be impacted by the virus. On Sunday, wide receiver Jon’Vea Johnson was placed on the new reserve/COVID-19 list, which was created to accommodate those who test positive or those in quarantine after coming in close proximity with an infected person.

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Impact of Canady’s Absence

Simply put, Dallas will be just fine; Canady wasn’t signed to play starter’s reps. Lewis and Awuzie, who could moonlight at safety, remain entrenched atop the depth chart, with Brown and veteran addition Daryl Worley operating as veteran reserves.

The Cowboys were aggressive in replacing Jones. Not only did they bring aboard Canady and Worley, the team spent second- and fourth-round draft picks on Trevon Diggs and Reggie Robinson, respectively.


Lawrence Makes Final Call on Training Camp: Report

Rather than opt out, Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence will report to the team facility Tuesday to start training camp, per NFL Network’s Jane Slater. The decision comes one week after Lawrence, whose pregnant wife Sasha is due in October, admitted he was unsure about his camp participation due to the coronavirus.

Lawrence, who inked a $105 million extension in 2019, may have been required to repay part of his $25 million signing bonus had he not shown up to camp. It’s unclear if that was a contributing factor in his choice.

Regardless, he appears locked in for the upcoming campaign, and Lawrence will convene at The Star with his teammates to begin testing. All players must pass three virus tests — administered on Days 1, 2, and 4 — to gain entry into the building.


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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL