This article is part of our Training Camp Notes series.
Just as was the case Tuesday, a couple important NFL players opted out of the 2020 season Wednesday. It's safe to say today's list of names carried greater repercussions for fantasy football rankings. The headliner, of course, is Chiefs running back Damien Williams. The NFL opt out deadline is supposed to be August 4, so this could be an ongoing trend until then.
Player Opt Outs
Damien Williams, RB, KC
Although the Chiefs got by while he was injured in the regular season last year, Williams' absence deprives the Chiefs of one of their top playoff performers from each of the last two seasons. With 4.45 speed on a 220-pound frame and with plus pass-catching ability, Williams was close to the ideal running back fit in the Chiefs offense. His exit clears the runway that much more for the much anticipated first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire, the first running back selected in the 2020 NFL Draft.
After previously going around the middle of the second round in most PPR drafts, Edwards-Helaire will often if not typically carry a first-round price tag going forward. The logic is simple enough: Edwards-Helaire is ostensibly a first-round talent, and he's an advanced pass catcher playing in the Patrick Mahomes offense. After serving as the lead back in LSU's best-ever offense last year, running for 1,414 yards (6.6 YPC) and 16 touchdowns while catching 55 of 66 targets for 453 yards and one touchdown, Edwards-Helaire arrived to the NFL received by coach Andy Reid as something like the next Brian Westbrook.
Edwards-Helaire is very young (turned 21 in April) and as a rookie might suffer from the compromised offseason, however, so the Chiefs might use something like a running back committee instead of running CEH into the ground. Free agent addition DeAndre Washington showed well as the backup to Josh Jacobs in Oakland last year, so he might be CEH's main concern at this point. Even if not, though, Darrel Williams has shown the ability to pick up reps at running back and 2019 sixth-round pick Darwin Thompson might be better after looking a bit overmatched in his rookie year.
Nate Solder, OT, NYG
Solder isn't an elite tackle, but he's probably no worse than average despite some rough tape from the 2019 season. Even if the Giants didn't treasure him previously, the replacement option could still present a major dropoff. It's not clear who the replacement will be, but fourth overall pick Andrew Thomas could play there just like he did at Georgia. Fellow rookie third-round pick Matt Peart and journeyman Cameron Fleming seem like the next two candidates to play, but Peart might be too skinny to start on the right side. Peart on the left and Thomas on the right is an option, though that would entail starting two rookies at tackle. If not that, then Thomas on the left and Fleming on the right could be the call.
Whatever way the Giants go, it's a likely downgrade, and there's a chance the Giants offensive line regresses noticeably as the rookies try to get up to speed in a shortened offseason. If the Giants pass blocking suffers as a result, it might hurt downfield wideout Darius Slayton the most, because underneath pass catchers like Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram can all get open quickly underneath.
-The Lions have something of a COVID situation worth monitoring, as both Kenny Golladay and T.J. Hockenson were added to the Detroit COVID reserve list. It doesn't necessarily mean either tested positive, but at the least they were exposed to someone who did.
-Tua Tagovailoa (hip) passed his physical and is cleared to practice without limitations. It's a milestone development for the fifth overall pick out of Alabama, whose career appeared in great peril around nine months ago. With fortune seemingly in his favor for now, the ultra-productive passer could seize the starting Miami quarterback job in a hurry if things keep going his way. Then again, Ryan Fitzpatrick could benefit from the shortened offseason since he doesn't need the practice.
-The Chargers signed star defensive end Joey Bosa to a five-year, $135 million extension Wednesday. There's nothing surprising about that, but it's an occasion that reminds us that Bosa is clearly on an All-Decade trajectory for the Chargers.