Packers QB Aaron Rodgers Nearing Key Deadline for 2021 Future

Rodgers Possible Opt-Out

Getty Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers smiles during warms up prior to the start of the game aganist the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 29, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan.

The Green Bay Packers are waiting anxiously to see whether Aaron Rodgers will show up for training camp next month, but a decision on his immediate future could be coming much sooner after a recent agreement between the NFL and its players association created a new possibility for him in 2021.

The NFL agreed on Tuesday to once again afford all of its players the opportunity to opt-out of the 2021 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, offering $350,000 stipends to players deemed “higher risk” for the virus but excluding compensation for anyone who chooses to voluntary sit out for the upcoming season. Each player will have until 3 p.m. CT next Friday, July 2, to inform their teams of their decision.

Naturally, Rodgers will be among the biggest names on opt-out watch over the next week given his reported desire to not return to Green Bay next season. If he is truly committed to that stance — which remains unclear — there could be a genuine benefit for both sides if Rodgers chooses to opt-out rather than hold out in 2021.

The latest Packers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Packers newsletter here!

Join Heavy on Packers!

Rodgers Can Save Money With Opt-Out

Let’s be clear about one thing first: Neither Rodgers nor the Packers have specifically said how damaged their relationship is at this point. There have been dozens of reports about Rodgers’ motives, the Packers’ intentions, extension offers and trade demands, but nothing has been done in the public eye that would be considered unforgivable. It is very possible that Rodgers reports to the Packers’ training camp in about a month and continues on like business as usual.

If Rodgers is even remotely considering a holdout, though, there are compelling financial reasons for him to strongly consider opting out instead.

Rodgers would be subject to daily fines of $50,000 for each day of training camp he skips in the event of a holdout. The Packers would also have the option of coming after his signing bonus and roster bonus if he misses more than five days of camp, adding up to more than $13 million in forfeited money if he holds out of the entire 2021 season.

However, if Rodgers decides to opt-out instead, he will preserve his millions and have his contract toll to 2022, giving both sides time to gather more information and negotiate a resolution to their current standoff.

Packers Could Benefit if Rodgers Opts Out

Rodgers isn’t the only one who would benefit financially from him opting out. No doubt, the Packers want Rodgers back as their starting quarterback in 2021, but it would be far better for them in terms of the salary cap if Rodgers picked opting out over holding out.

As Over the Cap’s Jason Fitzgerald highlighted, Rodgers’ cap hit would drop from $36.702 million to $6.8 million for the 2021 season, creating a massive amount of immediate cap space for the Packers to accomplish other things, such as potentially extending star wide receiver Davante Adams or carrying over the savings onto next year’s ledger. Rodgers’ 2022 cap number would also drop about $9.45 million in the event of an opt-out, more money that benefits the Packers’ spending plan.

Again, “benefits” come with a grain of salt. Rodgers leaving the team is hardly something the Packers would consider a step in the right direction for 2021, but if the situation is unfixable, they might as well get some financial kickback while waiting until after the season to re-evaluate trading him.

The trouble with a possible opt-out scenario is Rodgers’ decision would need to come quickly — and cannot be reversed once made. Would he rule out a return to the Packers so soon before training camp and potentially put negotiations on pause? We’ll know for certain in about a week.

Read More
Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments