How players who opted out will impact the Detroit Lions

Detroit Lions (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions only had three players that decided to opt-out of the 2020 season

With the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging over the world, many people, including athletes, are concerned for their health and well being. As some people are considered high risk of contracting the virus, they were allowed to opt out the campaign and earn $350,000. Even players who weren’t considered high risk were allowed to opt out the upcoming 2020 season as well although they would only get $150,000, which would need to be paid back eventually.

As for Detroit Lions, three players decided to opt-out of the 2020 season (if it does indeed occur). They are defensive tackle John Atkins, center Russell Bodine, and wide receiver Geronimo Allison. Head coach Matt Patricia has stated that he supports his players’ decision to opt-out of the season. With these three being the only opt-outs for the Lions, how does it impact the team on the field?

The player opting out that impacts the Lions the most is Allison. While he was brought in over from the rival Green Bay Packers on a one year deal, he was expected to contribute to the passing game to some extent and provide depth at the wide receiver position. Last season with the Packers, he appeared in all 16 games catching 34 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns while getting 16 first downs.

With Allison opting out, the Lions will have to rely on rookie wide receiver Quintez Cephus which gives him a path to more playing time.

Atkins opting out also hurts the team too, especially from a depth standpoint. The defensive line is probably the Lions weakest link on the team and they need all the bodies they can get as one injury to a defensive tackle or lineman will really impact the performance of the team. In his sophomore year, Atkins appeared in 12 games last year recording 20 tackles (13 solo).

Atkins opting out doesn’t really affect the playing time of any defensive lineman as he was expected to be the fourth-string defensive tackle but if starting right defensive tackle Nick Williams goes down with an injury, rookie defensive tackle John Penisini could be needed.

Bodine opting-out doesn’t impact the team that much as he is the third-string center behind starter Frank Ragnow and backup Beau Benzschawel. Bodine hasn’t appeared in a regular season game since 2018 with the Buffalo Bills and wasn’t expected to play this season either unless Ragnow went down with an injury.

Although Bodine makes little to no impact to the team, it does put pressure on Ragnow to stay healthy for the whole season.

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With those three opting out, it gives the Detroit Lions three empty spots to give to other players. While they will probably replace Atkins and Bodine with players that play their respective positions, they may not give the last spot to a wide receiver as they have lots of depth at that position.

Perhaps the Lions could give it to a defensive player of any position but regardless of what position they give that spot too, for players that were on the bubble of making the roster, now’s their chance to show why they deserve a spot on the team.