The Green Bay Packers kicked off their full squad minicamp Tuesday without Aaron Rodgers, marking the first time in Rodgers’ 16-year NFL career that he is a holdout.
The star quarterback appears to have now skipped the entire Packers offseason program, as he had already failed to show up for all three phases of the franchise’s voluntary workout sessions (also a first in his career). Unless he inexplicably decides to show up in the middle of camp, the next mandatory reporting date for the reigning NFL MVP bumps to Green Bay’s July 27 kickoff for training camp.
Rodgers’ continued absence this week is a significant moment in an escalating standoff with the Packers, signaling a deepening resolve that the team’s front office now must consider in a longer vantage as it prepares for the 2021 season.
Rodgers’ commitment might have already been signaled long before this, particularly when he bypassed all of the workout phases that would have triggered his $500,000 offseason workout bonus. Now the Packers have the option to fine Rodgers $93,085 for missing this week’s mandatory camp. All of this showcases a reality the team must now take seriously: If Rodgers is willing to lose nearly $600,000 and stay away from working with his teammates for an entire offseason, he may also be willing to take this impasse into the 2021 preseason and beyond.
While the Packers don’t have a workaround to gift Rodgers the $500,000 workout bonus after his lack of participation, the team can extend the quarterback an excused absence for camp and avoid fining him the $93,085. That will change when training camp begins in July, when the league mandates $50,000 per-day fines for players who don’t report under holdout circumstances.
Whether that comes to fruition for Rodgers remains to be seen. Now the Packers must move forward with a different kind of pressure. First dealing with the gravity of answering questions about how the executive branch of leadership can heal its relationship with its quarterback; then dealing with the specter of what the Green Bay offense looks like without the NFL’s best quarterback in 2020. That will put an intense spotlight on second-year quarterback Jordan Love this week — not to mention everyone who is charged with developing him in the event of a worst-case scenario where Rodgers refuses to return to the team.
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