As previously explained, it will be difficult for the NFL Players Association to persuade all players to stay away from voluntary offseason workouts. There’s one premiere player whose position on the matter will be very interesting to follow.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the defending NFL MVP, has multiple reasons to ignore the union’s recommendation.
First, he has a $500,000 workout bonus. And while it’s easy for an outsider to shrug at that because Rodgers has average annual compensation of $33.5 million, $500,000 is still a lost of money. Given that players will otherwise look for ways to stay in shape and/or to hone their craft and/or to get comfortable with their teammates, the formal offseason program gives them a way to do it.
Second, if Rodgers doesn’t show up and backup quarterback Jordan Love does, Love will get all the first-team reps in the offseason program. That will help Love be better prepared to take over, and it could take the team more willing to flip the switch in 2022. (No, Rodgers shouldn’t worry about Jordan Love. Yes, Rodgers likely still doesn’t want to give Love any chances to show that he’s ready to take over.)
Third, Rodgers isn’t particularly pleased with the union. He gave up his spot as the Packers’ NFLPA representative because he disagreed with the efforts of union leadership to force through the new CBA in 2020. Rodgers, put simply, may not be inclined to go along with anything that the NFLPA wants.
We’ll have more to say tonight and beyond about the various dynamics that apply to the first effort at concerted union action since the failed strike of 1987. There are plenty of layers and levels and issues and dynamics to consider.
Ultimately, the boycott may collapse. If it does, the union will be in the same place it would have been if it hadn’t tried to stage a boycott. So why not give it a try?