NFL

What comes next in Aaron Rodgers saga after expected absence from Green Bay Packers’ mandatory minicamp

GREEN BAY, Wis. – With Aaron Rodgers' attendance at the Green Bay Packers' minicamp this week in doubt, the question now becomes what happens next in the team's saga with its disgruntled MVP quarterback. 

Rodgers is not expected to attend minicamp, the lone "mandatory" activity on the NFL's offseason schedule, after skipping voluntary organized team activities for the first time in his career. He forfeited a $500,000 workout bonus for missing OTAs, according to his contract. Skipping minicamp could cost Rodgers an additional $93,085 in fines, according to the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement with the players association. 

Those fines break down as $15,515 for an unexcused absence on the first day, $31,030 for the second and $46,540 for the third. 

The Packers could excuse Rodgers’ absence from minicamp, a way to peaceably amend an otherwise uncomfortable situation. So while the Tuesday start of minicamp has been long anticipated as the next significant step in the Packers’ stalemate with Rodgers, it might be likely the team postpones any real punishment. 

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is seen during pregame of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Detroit. (Photo: Duane Burleson, AP)

Fines could pile up in training camp

The CBA does not allow such grace when it comes to training camp. While the Packers could excuse Rodgers for reporting late, they have no flexibility if the quarterback outright refuses to report. Under the CBA, any player with an “unexcused” absence from preseason training camp is fined $50,000 per day. That is a mandatory fine that can’t be nullified after a player reports, an adjustment designed to prevent camp holdouts from players unhappy with their contracts. 

If Rodgers misses all of camp, he would be fined a total of $2.05 million. Rodgers is not subject to being fined a game check for each preseason game missed, a stipulation the CBA allocates only for newly signed unrestricted free agents. 

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PACKERS PRESIDENT MARK MURPHY: Says team is 'working to resolve the situation' with Rodgers

In his monthly Q&A with Packers fans, president/CEO Mark Murphy acknowledged the Rodgers “situation” has “divided our fan base.”  

“As I wrote here last month, we remain committed to resolving things with Aaron and want him to be our quarterback in 2021 and beyond,” Murphy wrote. “We are working to resolve the situation and realize that the less both sides say publicly, the better.” 

Receivers expected to show

Rodgers wasn’t the only Packers player who missed the voluntary OTAs. If he indeed skips minicamp, he’s expected to be the only player not in attendance. Receiver Devin Funchess, one of five veteran receivers not at OTAs, tweeted last week he’ll be at minicamp. Attendance for Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard and Equanimeous St. Brown, as well as second-team All-Pro cornerback Jaire Alexander, is expected. 

Adams ($500,000) and Funchess ($50,000) are the only players who forfeited workout bonuses by not participating in OTAs. Receivers Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown along with Alexander are on rookie contracts that do not include workout bonuses. Receiver Allen Lazard was tendered as an exclusive rights free agent, which does not include a workout bonus. 

So the Packers should be much closer to their full, 90-man roster this week. The lone, noticeable exception is a big one. Rodgers’ expected absence on the practice field will continue to be glaring. 

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