NFL Deadline Raises Possibility of Aaron Rodgers Opt-Out for 2021 Season

Decisions, decisions.
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Aaron Rodgers could make a stunning move amid speculative trade interest from the Denver Broncos.

Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio reported Friday that the disgruntled MVP quarterback, lock-stepped in a standoff with the Green Bay Packers, could save $18.3 million in yet-to-be-paid money — signing and roster bonuses — by opting out of the 2021 NFL season by the July 2 deadline.

"The benefit to doing so comes from the fact that he would not forfeit $11.5 million in unearned signing bonus money for 2021 if he opts out," Florio wrote. "Also, he presumably would still receive the payments on the $6.8 million roster bonus that he earned in March, and that is due to be paid out in weekly installments during the season.

"That’s $18.3 million that he’ll keep by opting out. If he doesn’t opt out but holds out, he loses that $18.3 million — and would be fined roughly $2 million on top of it for skipping training camp."

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Rumors have suggested that Rodgers won't take another snap for the Packers and is willing to skip the upcoming campaign — or even retire — if not dealt to a new team. League insider Jay Glazer recently reported Rodgers "still wants out" of Wisconsin and KOA Radio's Benjamin Allbright previously reported the 37-year-old "wants to be" in Denver.

Green Bay's management has remained insistent Rodgers isn't available for trade. CEO Mark Murphy and general manager Brian Gutekunst appear committed to enforcing the $134 million contract extension he signed in 2018. Rodgers is due $14.7 million in base salary for 2021 but scheduled to count a burdensome $37.202 million against the salary cap.

The Packers would create $22.850 million of cap space and absorb a $14.352 million dead-money hit by trading Rodgers to the Broncos or another suitor, such as the Las Vegas Raiders or Washington Football Team, in the weeks ahead.

In the hours ahead, however, Rodgers can take action into his own hands.

"If Rodgers truly is thinking about staying away for all of 2021, there are 20.3 million reasons for making a final and binding decision in the next seven days," Florio wrote.

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