A recent report from another publication included this clear, unambiguous, and unmistakable remark: “The Packers would trade Rodgers if they believed he was truly committed to never playing for them again.”
This statement implies that the Packers don’t believe he is truly committed to never playing for them again. Which means that, to the extent he’s suggesting by words (or lack thereof) and actions that he’ll never play for them again, the Packers are calling what could be a bluff.
So what if this isn’t a bluff? What if Rodgers doesn’t show up? What happens next?
The financial penalties commence with mandatory minicamp. Per page 249 of the labor deal, the Packers can fine Rodgers $93,085 for missing all three days of the camp. Then, if he skips training camp, the Packers will fine him $50,000 per day. Under the 2020 CBA, the daily fines for missing training camp are mandatory and cannot be waived.
If Rodgers sits out all of 2021, he’ll lose his $14.7 million salary. The Packers also will be able to recover $11.5 million in unearned signing bonus money and Rodgers’ $6.8 million roster bonus, which was earned earlier this year and (per a source with knowledge of the situation) will be paid out with his game checks.
Assuming 40 days of camp, that’s a total financial penalty for Rodgers of more than $35 million if he doesn’t play this year — along with a lost opportunity to play football in one of his remaining years of high-level athletic ability. Which helps explain why the Packers don’t believe he won’t show up.
Thus, the privilege of skipping all of 2021 costs more than $35 million and one full season of adding to Rodgers’ legacy. That’s a huge price to pay. And it helps explain why the Packers don’t believe Rodgers will stay away for all of the 2021 season.
Rodgers could avoid roughly $2 million in fines by retiring before the start of training camp. He’d still lose $33 million by not playing this year. That’s money that will never be replaced, unless he convinces himself that he’ll be able to play year deeper into his forties by not playing this year.
The Packers remain unconvinced. Which is one of the reasons why the Packers aren’t looking to give Rodgers what he wants. The Packers seem to believe (and for good reason) that he won’t give up what he needs — playing football and getting paid handsomely for it.