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Green Bay Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers obviously is not happy about the direction of the organization and would prefer to be traded.
The past several weeks of the NFL offseason leading up to the start of training camp in less than a month has focused heavily on Rodgers’ previous trade request and threats to hold out throughout the 2021 NFL season.
There’s now some talk that he could use this year’s opt-out clause pertaining to COVID-19 as a loophole to sit out the entire campaign and still collect a fat check.
As some of you already know, the NFL set a July 2 opt-out deadline for players. Unlike last season, those deemed at high risk are the only individuals set to receive stipends. Even then, Rodgers would collect his $11.5 million signing bonus and $6.8 million roster bonus if the reigning NFL MVP opted out.
Right now, it doesn’t look like this is in the cards. There’s one primary reason for that conclusion. Any player who opts out ahead of the deadline can’t change his decision.
“With a deadline of July 2 and with the decision irrevocable, Rodgers won’t be ready to give up on playing this year in just five days,” source close to the situation told Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk recently.
Unless there’s some sort of a further rift between Rodgers and the Packers that makes his decision purely emotional, there’s no reason for the quarterback to use said option. With that as a backdrop, there’s still a lot to sift through heading into training camp.
The Aaron Rodgers end game
Right now, it seems as if Green Bay is holding all of the cards here. If Rodgers were to hold out of the 2021 season, he’d forfeit roughly $35 million in cold hard cash. Meanwhile, the Packers have been using 2020 first-round pick Jordan Love with their first-team offense while Rodgers remains away from offseason activities.
Even with that being the case, there’s no telling whether Rodgers will be on hand for training camp when the rest of his Packers teammates report in late-July. He seems to have entrenched himself in the idea of never playing another snap as a member of the organization.
At issue here for Rodgers is his current contract, which gives Green Bay’s brass leverage. Embattled general manager Brian Gutekunst has pushed back against the idea of trading Aaron Rodgers throughout the entire offseason.
Initially, reports surfaced that the future first ballot Hall of Famer wanted to join the San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos or Las Vegas Raiders.
San Francisco has since traded up to the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft for fellow quarterback Trey Lance. Las Vegas seems to be in a holding pattern with Derek Carr. Meanwhile, the Broncos have become favorites to land Rodgers in a blockbuster trade. All the while, they are preparing for a training camp battle between Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater for the starting job.
As it is, don’t expect Rodgers to utilize the aforementioned loophole and opt out of the 2021 season under the guise of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether that means he’s Green Bay’s starting quarterback come Week 1 against the New Orleans Saints remains to be seen. We’ll find out soon enough.