This week, the NFL Player’s Association confirmed that players would have the ability to opt-out of the 2021 regular season over concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. Naturally, it got many fans and media members wondering if Aaron Rodgers might consider that option in the midst of his ongoing conflict with the Green Bay Packers.
Although opting out might’ve seemed like a viable possibility for Rodgers at one point, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk revealed why the 37-year-old probably won’t sit out this season.
The NFL and the NFLPA agreed to a set of stipulations that will make it difficult for Rodgers to opt out without facing significant financial losses. The Green Bay Packers quarterback meets the first benchmark since he signed his most recent contract before October 1, 2020, but doesn’t fall in line with one key requirement needed to opt out.
According to a letter from the league, players who did not opt out in 2020 can only opt out in 2021 if they have developed a high-risk condition since October 1 of last year. At this point, Rodgers hasn’t implied that he’s faced any serious health issues in the last eight months, meaning that he can’t just step away from the field this upcoming season.
If the Packers quarterback had been given the opportunity to opt out, he could’ve saved himself $18.3 million in earned bonus money. Although he would’ve sacrificed his annual salary ($14.7 million), Rodgers would’ve taken a much smaller financial hit if he wanted to avoid suiting up in Green Bay this fall.
A 2021 opt out would save Aaron Rodgers $18.3 million; however, the fine print to the recent NFL-NFLPA letter agreement makes it highly unlikely that Rodgers would qualify for an opt out. https://t.co/ifacUT7EQU
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) June 24, 2021
According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, players have until 4 p.m. ET on July 2 to inform their team if they are opting out of the 2021 season. Although we might see a few players exercise that option, for a variety of reasons, it seems unlikely that Rodgers will join them.
With an opt-out basically off the table, Rodgers only has so many other options to consider for the upcoming season. With just over two months to go until Week 1, the Packers quarterback will need to make his final decision soon.