Patriots Lose Eighth Player to COVID-19 Opt-Outs

Getty Matt LaCosse

The list of New England Patriots players who are opting out of the 2020 NFL season continues to grow. On Sunday, news broke on veteran Matt LaCosse’s decision to opt-out of the 2020 NFL season.

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Why Matt LaCosse Opted Out of the 2020 NFL Season

According to multiple reports, LaCosse has chosen to opt-out because his wife is pregnant. Her due date falls during the NFL season, and it will be the couple’s first child. It’s possible, the safety concerns that come with playing the season during a pandemic were too severe for LaCosse to take the risk during such an important time for him and his wife.

How Will the Patriots Fill the Void?

LaCosse was the team’s starting tight end in 2019. His experience may be missed, but the position was identified as one with room for improvement after LaCosse registered the lowest player grade of any regular contributor on the team in 2019, per Pro Football Focus.

That’s a major reason why the Patriots used two third-round picks on tight ends, or at least two players with the capabilities of playing the position.

The Patriots drafted Devin Asiasi out of UCLA, who is now the likely starter at the position, as well as Virginia Tech’s Dalton Keene who figures to be more of an H-Back.

Veteran fullback Jakob Johnson has some experience playing tight end, but it is likely he’ll be needed to fill the void at fullback that was created when free-agent signing Dan Vitale also chose to opt-out.

Ryan Izzo was LaCosse’s backup in 2019, but as of now, he isn’t likely to beat out Asiasi in training camp. The team does have undrafted free-agents Jake Burt and Rashod Berry, although the latter might be looking at a position change.

Who Else on the Patriots Has Opted Out?

As of now, here are the eight Patriots who have opted out of the 2020 NFL Season.

  • Dont’a Hightower
  • Patrick Chung
  • LaCosse
  • Marcus Cannon
  • Najee Toran
  • Marquise Lee
  • Dan Vitale
  • Brandon Bolden

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