Would you take a year off work knowing you would make/keep $18.3 million regardless? That's a bit of a loaded question, obviously, but it is a decision that Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers could make. If he chose to opt out of this season, Rodgers would indeed make/keep that much money for 2021 and the team can't do a thing about it. However, Rodgers must decide by next Friday, July 2, about opting out and there's no going back once he does. SportsLine offers updated NFL odds on whether Rodgers is the Packers' Week 1 starting QB.
Last season, players were allowed to opt out because of the COVID pandemic. Those who were deemed "higher risk" for COVID received a $350,000 stipend, while those who opted out voluntarily received $150,000. A total of 67 players opted out.
The league has set a deadline of Friday, July 2 at 4 p.m. ET for players to opt out for this year and again all decisions are final. Those deemed higher risk would again get that stipend but voluntary opt outs get nothing. Only players who executed their contracts prior to Oct. 1, 2020, are eligible to take a voluntary opt out, which means rookies are ineligible.
How does this affect Rodgers? Pro Football Talk dissected the agreement between the NFL and NFL Players' Association and it could be a major source of leverage for the three-time MVP if he really wants out of Green Bay that badly.
Essentially, if Rodgers opted out, he would keep $11.5 million in unearned signing bonus money and still receive payments on the $6.8 million roster bonus that he earned in March. If Rodgers simply chose to hold out this season this season or "retired," he would lose/have to return that combined $18.3 million and could be fined up to $2 million for skipping all of training camp (he wouldn't be fined by retiring). By playing, he keeps everything plus earns a $14.7 million salary for 2021.
It's obviously hard to imagine Rodgers truly opting out at age 37 (38 in December) and still in his prime coming off that third MVP Award. He also would surely lose in the court of public opinion by doing so. Green Bay opens training camp July 27 and there should be a resolution one way or another by then. Former Packers receiver James Jones, still a friend or Rodgers, recently said: "I truly believe that he will be there for training camp, this will get fixed."
Rodgers is a +800 second-favorite behind Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes to win a fourth MVP Award. William Hill, like all books, continues to keep Green Bay win totals and playoff odds off the board. The Pack were set at Over/Under 10.5 victories.
Via SportsLine oddsmakers: Will Aaron Rodgers be the Packers' starting QB Week 1 of this season?
- Yes -250
- No +180
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