- The drama between Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers continues to drag on this NFL offseason
- Last year’s NFL MVP, Rodgers is upset with the franchise for a few different reported reasons, and he’s standing his ground by refusing to show up to minicamp
- With a July 2 deadline available for players to opt-out without losing any pay, will the quarterback take advantage and save himself his salary? Here’s why it’s doubtful
Another day, another discussion about Aaron Rodgers’ standoff with the Green Bay Packers, as both sides have been butting heads throughout this NFL offseason. We first got word that the reigning NFL MVP was unhappy on draft night, when ESPN’s Adam Schefter dropped a bombshell report. Since then, both Rodgers and the Green Bay front office continue to play chicken, with each trying to call the other’s bluff.
Here’s the thing: Rodgers has more control than the Packers do in this situation. He’s coming off of an MVP season in which he led the team to the NFC Championship Game — which they actually hosted, but lost. Both sides know that the championship window hinges on the quarterback playing during the 2021 NFL season, rather than moving on and handing over the starting gig to Jordan Love. That’s serious power for the future Hall of Famer.
Knowing what he does about the situation and holding firm, Aaron Rodgers most likely understands that, when he wants to return to the Packers, he’ll move right back into his normal spot under center. His teammates continue to pledge support for him, and his coaches keep saying the right things. It’s the business people who keep causing problems.
But the NFL is a business, and there are millions of dollars at stake. Rodgers knows this as well as anybody in the league, so this drama between he and the Packers isn’t something he was unprepared for. It’s why, at some point, No. 12 will be walking through the doors at Green Bay’s facility and preparing for another NFL season.
According to Pro Football Talk, any player has until July 2 to voluntarily opt-out of the 2021 NFL season without any questions asked. Whether that’s due to ongoing concerns related to COVID or something else — like unhappiness with a franchise, as is the situation with Rodgers and the Packers — pulling such a move protects a player from losing money if he “executed his most recent contract before October 1, 2020,” per PFT. The Green Bay quarterback qualifies under that language.
This includes, most notably, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. By next Friday, July 2, he can pull the plug on the 2021 season. It would be a permanent and irrevocable decision, but he can do it.
The benefit to doing so comes from the fact that he would not forfeit $11.5 million in unearned signing bonus money for 2021 if he opts out. Also, he presumably would still receive the payments on the $6.8 million roster bonus that he earned in March, and that is due to be paid out in weekly installments during the season.
In other words, should Rodgers opt-out by the July 2 deadline, he’ll guarantee himself $18.3 million. If he refuses to do so and holds out, he’ll lose all that money and get fined about $2 million for skipping training camp. That’s a lot of loot, and, given the dysfunction between he and the Packers, the quarterback will just voluntarily opt-out, right?
Not so fast.
If there’s one thing we know about Aaron Rodgers, it’s that he loves drama. He also loves playing football, and opting-out by July 2 would eliminate any chance that he’ll be able to play during the 2021 NFL season — because there’s no reversing the decision, per guidelines.
Has Rodgers firmly come to the conclusion that he’s done with football at this point? It’s highly doubtful, otherwise he probably would’ve already made the decision to retire. So don’t expect this looming July 2 opt-out deadline isn’t going to impact the future of the quarterback.
Sure, Rodgers has $20.3 million reasons to make a decision on his future in the next seven days. Despite reports of him threatening to retire or taking the year off, don’t expect him to take that option. Instead, look for No. 12 to be back in his normal spot inside the Green Bay Packers’ huddle by training camp, enjoying the attention and diffusing the drama of this entire NFL offseason in his typical tone.
The quarterback understands his legacy, and returning to try and win one more Super Bowl after being so close last season is the only way for him to add to that Hall of Fame resume. Opting out would secure him millions, but it won’t satisfy his hunger to still be considered among the all-time greats.