In 2020, Eddie Goldman opted out of the NFL season due to COVID-19. He chose not to play during the pandemic-ridden season because of health concerns and those concerns are totally validated. Now, however, Goldman has yet to report to any team activities with the Chicago Bears and the situation has everyone scratching their heads. Rumors have swirled over the last week about Goldman possibly contemplating retirement. I'm here to ask: is Eddie Goldman threatening retirement or bluffing?
If Goldman did in fact retire, he would have to pay $6.6 million back to the Bears. That's a significant amount of money even for an NFL player. There is a chance that Goldman sees the position the Bears' defense is in and how his value has increased considering their defensive line struggles.
I believe this "rumor" of Goldman's retirement is likely just that. There are many ways a player can use leverage to gain a larger paycheck and the holdout method is one of the most popular. If you add in a global pandemic, health concerns, and a needy defense, then this scenario is even more likely.
Mike Florio's Comments
Earlier today on local sports radio station WSCR 670 The Score, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk spoke about Goldman's absence. He commented similarly about the argument above but expanded on it and offered an alternative. In his opinion, the pandemic has changed a lot of people. The pandemic could have easily made Eddie Goldman realize that he doesn't want to play professional football anymore.
If this is the case, then the conversation around Goldman retiring is certainly on the table. It's quite understandable as well. The knowledge around football players' head trauma and CTE is at an all-time high. Our basic understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I do mean basic, is causal enough to make someone rethink the rest of their life. If Goldman retires, his decision must be respected from this perspective, as difficult as it would be for the Bears' defense.
Lastly, the deadline for players to opt out of the 2021 season came and went without anyone choosing to do so. If Eddie Goldman wanted more time to contemplate his retirement or playing for the Bears again, then it's likely he would have chosen to do so. At this point, all we can do is wait. Training camp is right around the corner and the Bears definitely would love to have Goldman back. What shape he would be in is a whole different story.