Combining the regular season and postseason, Aaron Rodgers has played 218 games for the Green Bay Packers over the last 16 years. But it’s this game he’s playing against the Packers right now that has everyone’s attention and the reigning NFL MVP seems to be enjoying every minute of it.
It seems clear that Rodgers wants to play football this season as he could have opted out of the 2021 campaign earlier this month without losing millions of dollars using recent adjustments to the collective bargaining agreement. But he didn’t. But it’s still unclear whether or not Rodgers will report to Packers training camp later this month and his latest statement on the matter certainly couldn’t have put the Packers (or their fans) at ease whatsoever.
Aaron Rodgers could have opted out of the 2021 NFL season
When all of this drama between Rodgers and the Packers truly came to light on the first day of this year’s NFL draft, the chances of the nine-time Pro Bowler sitting out the 2021 season if Green Bay didn’t trade him seemed slim. And the reason for that is that he would have lost out on more than $35 million combining base salary, recouped signing bonus money, roster and workout bonuses, and fines.
Now, some of that figure is still in play. But on June 22, the NFL and NFLPA agreed to amend adjustments in the collective bargaining agreement that were made in 2020 due to COVID-19. Under the new provisions, players who’d executed their most recent contract before October 1, 2020, were given until July 2 to opt out of the 2021 season with no questions asked.
While Rodgers wouldn’t have received a stipend in doing so, he also wouldn’t have had to forfeit his $11.5 million signing bonus or the $6.8 million roster bonus he earned in March. So he still could have pocketed $18.3 million without playing a single down. He also wouldn’t be subject to $50,000 daily fines for missing training camp. The problem with opting out is that the decision would have been final, meaning he couldn’t have decided to play later in the year. As Rodgers chose not to opt out, he can still hold out and not show up when Packers training camp begins on July 27, which brings those $50,000 daily fines into play, but can still suit up in 2021 if he chooses.
Rodgers says he’ll ‘figure things out in a couple weeks’
Over the weekend, just a few days after appearing in “The Match” with Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson, and Tom Brady, where he dodged questions about his status with the Packers, Rodgers took part in the celebrity-filled American Century Championship golf event in South Lake Tahoe, Nevada, finishing 24th.
Naturally, NBC, who was broadcasting the tournament, asked Rodgers about his status for the 2021 season and this was his response, which you can view in the video above.
“I’m going to enjoy the hell out of this week. And then I’m going to get back to working out and figure things out in a couple weeks.”Aaron Rodgers
Now did you see the smile that was on his face during his response? This has all become one big game to Rodgers and he’s loving it.
He seems to be just toying with the Packers at this point
Seriously, I can’t be the only one who thinks Rodgers is just toying with the Packers at this point, right? While the story only came to light during the NFL draft back in April, we all know Rodgers reached his breaking point in Green Bay during last season. And seeing as it’s been close to six months since the Packers lost the NFC Championship Game to Brady and the eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Rodgers has had at least that amount of time to “figure out” what he’s going to do.
But he still needs a “couple weeks?” Come on now.
My guess is that he already knows exactly what he’s going to do and is simply loving keeping the Green Bay front office in limbo and is likely still hoping that the Packers will think they have no choice but to trade him, which is obviously exactly what he wants. When July 27 rolls around and Rodgers isn’t in camp, are we really going to be surprised? And do we really think that $50,000 a day in fines is going to scare him into showing up?
In total, Rodgers stands to lose just over two million bucks if he doesn’t show up to a single day of camp before the start of the season, which isn’t going to put much of a dent in his bank account.
And maybe he just shows up to Packers training camp on time pretending as if nothing has happened. That doesn’t seem likely but given how he’s handling everything, that wouldn’t be a shock either. Rodgers seems to be loving the control he has right now and doesn’t seem ready to give that up just yet. Guess we’ll just have to wait a “couple weeks” to see what he does next.