The agreement between the NFL and the NFL Players Association gives any player the choice to opt out and receive a $150,000 salary advance. A player classified as being at high risk medically can opt out and receive a $350,000 stipend.
Williams, 28, was entering the final season of a contract that was to pay him a base salary of $1.85 million this season. His contract now tolls, meaning that it rolls over into next year and he remains under contract to the Chiefs for the 2021 season. He was the team’s leading rusher last season, when he ran for 498 yards and five touchdowns during the regular season. Williams scored two touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving, in the Chiefs’ Super Bowl triumph over the San Francisco 49ers.
The Chiefs selected a running back, LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire, in the first round of the NFL draft.
Williams joins a growing list of players who have opted out, although no major stars have chosen not to play. New York Giants offensive tackle Nate Solder also announced Wednesday that he is opting out.
Six New England Patriots players, including linebacker Dont’a Hightower and safety Patrick Chung, previously opted out. Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, who has graduated from medical school and worked this offseason as an orderly at a long-term care facility in Canada, was the first NFL player to announce his decision to opt out.