Newly signed Patriots fullback Dan Vitale has opted out of the 2020 season according to his agent. Vitale played in 15 games for the Green Bay Packers last season and signed with the Patriots this offseason. Vitale could have been a replacement for James Devein, who retired. Since Vitale is opting out, rookie tight end Dalton Keene and Jakob Johnson will seemingly get more playing time.
Vitale’s agent Leigh Steinberg shared the news with USA Today’s Jarrett Bell on Monday.
“Agent Leigh Steinberg confirmed to USA TODAY Sports that Vitale, a fifth-year veteran who joined the Patriots as a free agent this year, is taking the leave of absence option afforded NFL players due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Vitale and his wife, Caley, are parents to a newborn baby.”
Players who voluntarily opt out will receive a $150,000 stipend as a salary advance on their contracts, for next season. Vitale signed a one-year deal worth approximately $1.3 million.
Also interesting to see Johnson, a fullback who'll be battling Dan Vitale for a roster spot, doing this type of route-running work. Worth noting he was a tight end in Germany (43-474-4 in 2018). https://t.co/vJV4BifIGc
— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) July 22, 2020
With newly signed #Patriots fullback Dan Vitale deciding to opt out of the season, a big opportunity opens up for Jakob Johnson. Last season he became the 1st player from the NFL’s International Pathway to be activated. Here he opens up a Bolden TD run. pic.twitter.com/BUcC9Oy8ND
— Jack Aylmer (@Jack_Aylmer) July 27, 2020