Patriots’ Marcus Cannon, Dont’a Hightower reportedly opting out of 2020 season
Whether Cam Newton or Jarrett Stidham wins the New England Patriots’ starting quarterback gig, they’ll have to perform without starting right tackle Marcus Cannon.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport confirmed the longtime right tackle will opt out of the 2020 season, per a source informed of the move.
The 32-year-old tackle was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma shortly before the 2011 draft, missing the first half of his rookie season while receiving treatment. As a cancer survivor, Cannon would be a high-risk candidate to receive a $350,000 stipend with no offset and an accrued/credited season with his contract tolling.
Set to enter his 10th season, Cannon became a spot starter in 2013, and has manned the right tackle spot full time since 2016, and for the Pats’ past two Super Bowls. He started 15 games in 2019.
The veteran is the fifth Patriots player expected to opt out of the 2020 season, joining linebacker Dont’a Hightower, running back Brandon Bolden, fullback Danny Vitale and guard Najee Toran.
His absence will be a blow to the Pats O-line, but Cannon’s concerns as a cancer survivor are understandable.
Yodny Cajuste, a 2019 third-round pick, is a candidate to replace Cannon at right tackle. Backup Korey Cunningham and sixth-round rookie Justin Herron are also options.
- Outer Material: Synthetic
- Closure Type: Lace-Up
While the Pats break in new offensive line coaches in Cole Popovich and Carmen Bricillo, Cannon’s absence throws another curveball into the equation as training camp begins.
It’s possible Cannon qualifies as a “higher risk player opt out,” because he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma leading up to the 2011 NFL Draft. After being selected by the Patriots in the fifth round, Cannon continued his chemotherapy treatments and began his rookie season on the non-football injury list. He made his debut in Week 10 that year and has since become a mainstay on New England’s offensive line.
According to an agreement between the league and NFLPA, cancer is among the diagnoses and conditions that would classify a player as “higher risk.” Players who opt out for medical reasons will receive $300,000, while those who voluntarily opt out will receive $150,000.
The loss of Cannon could open the door for 2019 third-round pick Yodny Cajuste, who was not a member of the active roster last season because of a quad injury. Offensive tackle Korey Cunningham could be an option as well.