The New England Patriots continue to feel the residual effects of player concerns amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Tuesday morning, it was reported by Nick Stevens of WEEI’s ‘The Greg Hill Show’ (and confirmed by ESPN’s Mike Reiss) that veteran running back/special teamer Brandon Bolden will not be playing in 2020.
Bolden becomes the fifth Patriots player to opt out of the season due to COVID-19 concerns, joining Dont’a Hightower, Marcus Cannon, Danny Vitale and Najee Toran. News of all of those decisions broke either Monday night or Tuesday morning. Players who voluntarily opt out will forego their salary and receive a $150,000 stipend, while players who opt out for medical reasons will receive a $350,000 stipend. Patriots salary cap expert Miguel Benzan continues to follow the impact of the opt outs on New England’s cap.
The 30 year-old veteran, would have been entering the second season of his second tour of duty with the Patriots. Bolden spent the first six years of his career with the Patriots. He spent the 2018 season with Miami. Despite being used sparingly on offense (he has 230 rushing yards since 2016), Bolden is a stalwart on special teams. He was on the field for 71 percent of New England’s snaps last year. When used in situational offensive packages, Bolden almost always made his presence felt.
Bolden’s special teams prowess and experience regarded him to be a roster lock and a valued veteran on the 2020 Patriots among fans and media, alike. His absence on the field this year, creates a palpable void for New England, as they navigate through what can be best described as an unusual season.
-Mike D’Abate is a Managing Editor and Columnist for Full Press Coverage. He covers the New England Patriots and provides NFL editorial content. He is also the host of the Locked On Patriots podcast. Follow him on Twitter @mdabateFPC