With just over 100 days to go until Green Bay’s season-opener at New Orleans, the situation between the Packers and franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers appears far from resolved.
Rodgers, who reportedly does not want to return to the Packers if general manager Brian Gutekunst is still working for the team, did not report to Lambeau Field on Monday for the start of organized team activities, a source told ESPN.
OTAs, like the virtual and in-person workouts that were held earlier this offseason, are voluntary, but Rodgers has an offseason workout bonus in his contract and has now missed enough time to disqualify him from collecting his $500,000 stipend.
Since Rodgers skipped the previous two phases of workouts, missing the start of OTAs this week shouldn’t be a huge surprise. But the fact that he was willing to give up $500K is at least notable and another sign that the relationship between the Packers and Rodgers remains in limbo. More intel about how bad things have gotten will come during next month’s mandatory minicamp. If Rodgers skips that, he is subject to a fine of $93,085. Once actual training camp starts in late July, there is a mandatory fine of $50,000 per day missed. If Rodgers misses it all, it would amount to about $2 million in mandatory lost wages and could lead to the Packers attempting to withhold the remaining $23 million of his 2018 signing bonus.
“I don’t know if he and the Packers will make peace. He seems dug in to not play in Green Bay,” writes veteran NFL scribe Peter King. “With most players, I’d think, ‘They’ll get over it. It’ll get fixed.’ Not so sure with Rodgers. He’s strong-willed, to put it mildly, and when he decides to do something, that’s usually it. But there are a few tributaries here.”
Publicly, the Packers have maintained that they want Rodgers to return to the team and are committed to bringing the reigning NFL MVP back to Green Bay. But the team also signed quarterbacks Blake Bortles and Kurt Benkert last week, and already has last year’s top draft pick, second-year QB Jordan Love, on the roster. Should the team be forced to move on from Rodgers, they’ve put themselves in a position where they can do so (relatively) painlessly.
Though he suggests it is possible the team will offer Rodgers a two-year extension that would tie him with Patrick Mahomes as the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL at $45 million per year, Matt Schneidman, the Packers beat reporter for The Athletic, also outlined what he believes Green Bay would take in a deal for the 37-year-old gunslinger.
“I think the absolute maximum they’d get back is three first-round picks, a quarterback and a wide receiver, which they’d probably want since their entire wide receiver room is set to hit free agency after this season,” Schneidman wrote in a recent piece. “If Denver is desperate and Gutekunst caves, I could see a deal for three first-round picks, Jerry Jeudy and Drew Lock.”
We don’t know if Rodgers will get dealt, but it certainly looks like Julio Jones will …