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Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Star Lotulelei has opted out of the 2020 NFL season according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. In doing so, he becomes the first member of the Bills to sit out the season due to circumstances surrounding the coronavirus.
Lotulelei had $4.5 million fully guaranteed this season and $2.5 million fully guaranteed in 2021. Now both of those numbers will move one year down the line to 2021 and 2022, respectively. He restructured his contract this offseason and took a pay cut so he would stick in Buffalo. The move frees up $8 million in salary cap space for the Bills immediately.
As part of the NFL and NFLPA’s agreement surrounding COVID-19, Lotulelei will receive a $150,000 stipend ($350,000 if he is high risk) for opting out of the season. Once you opt out, you cannot opt back in.
The Bills have depth on the defensive line, but Lotulelei was expected to have a big role in the rotation. Ed Oliver is locked into the 3-tech starting spot while 1-tech Harrison Phillips is returning from ACL surgery. Newly-signed Vernon Butler and Quinton Jefferson will be part of the rotation and this could open the door for Vincent Taylor to stick on the roster.
As players continue reporting to training camp, the full list of opt outs should be available soon.