NFL Notes: Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson, COVID Opt-Outs

Aaron Rodgers

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes that if Packers QB Aaron Rodgers were to opt-out of the 2021 season by next Friday, he wouldn’t forfeit $11.5 million in unearned signing bonus money and would presumably receive his $6.8 million roster bonus.

This comes out to $18.3 million should Rodgers decide to opt-out and not play for Green Bay in 2021.

It remains to be seen whether Rodgers will be in attendance for the start of training camp next month. Should he extend his holdout, he could lose the $18.3 million from his bonuses and be fined roughly $2 million.

One other issue with the opt-out is that Rodgers couldn’t change his mind and return during the season.

  • Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap points out that if Rodgers opts out, his cap charge would drop from $36.702 million to $6.8 million, savings the Packers $29.902 million. Beyond that, Rodgers’s contract would toll.
  • Green Bay is in a tough cap spot in 2022, as they’re projected to be over the cap by $35 million, so this kind of cap savings would go a long way for them.
  • The Packers would also get a full year to evaluate Jordan Love as their long-term quarterback.

Deshaun Watson 

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk mentions that Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson could opt out for the 2021 season, given that his last contract was signed before October 1, 2020.

However, Florio explains that there isn’t much an incentive for Watson to go this route, considering that he wants to play in 2021 and the Texans appear to be open to trading him if there’s some clarity regarding the 22 pending lawsuits against him.

Even if Watson were to settle the cases, the NFL could place him on paid leave for the start of training camp.

Players have until July 2 to decide to opt out of the 2021 season. One of the main issues for Watson is that his contract would toll and he would give up $10 million in salary this season.

COVID Opt-Outs

  • According to Tom Pelissero, the deadline for players to opt-out of the 2021 season is July 2nd at 4 p.m. ET. Higher-risk players still get a $350,000 stipend for opting out, while voluntary opt-outs get nothing after getting $150,000 last year.
  • Pelissero also reports that rookies are not eligible for voluntary opt-outs. 
  • Pelissero also said the NFL and NFLPA agreed to more benefits for vaccinated players, like allowing them to keep pre-game bonuses if they miss a game for testing positive.

Looking for the latest NFL Insider News & Rumors?

Be sure to follow NFL Trade Rumors on TWITTER and FACEBOOK for breaking NFL News and Rumors for all 32 teams!

Leave a Reply