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.
Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald first reported the news.
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 sixth Patriots player expected to opt out of the 2020 season, joining linebacker Dont'a Hightower, safety Patrick Chung, 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.
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.
Other NFL players who are opting out of the 2020 season:
- Bears DT Eddie Goldman
- Bills DT Star Lotulelei
- Vikings DT Michael Pierce
- Ravens OT Andre Smith
- Texans DT Eddie Vanderdoes
- Broncos DT Kyle Peko,
- Cowboys WR Stephen Guidry