According to a post by the Around the NFL staff on the league site and reporting by Tom Pelissero, players will once again have the option to voluntarily opt out of playing in 2021. The deadline to make the decision to opt-out, which cannot be reversed once made, is next Friday:
Only players who executed their contracts prior to Oct. 1, 2020, are eligible to take a voluntary opt out, so 2021 rookies aren’t eligible. If a "Higher Risk" rookie opts out, the club still owns his rights. All opt-out decisions are final.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) June 23, 2021
The mechanism to opt-out looks like it will be similar to the clause from the 2020 season, with a few eligibility differences. As Pelissero mentions above, it will only be available to players who were already signed to contracts before October of last year. While the consequences for rookies are interesting, it’s even more interesting how this could play out with certain veterans.
Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk pointed out how the language in the policy leaves an opening for veteran guest Jeopardy hosts who chose not to show up to mandatory minicamp this year. Nobody knows exactly what is going on in Green Bay, but if future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers truly prefers not to play for the Packers this year, there are curious financial consequences of opting out (emphasis added):
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. 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.
The key, as Florio points out in his article, is that the voluntary opt-out is unconditional and will be accepted with “no questions asked as to motivation or qualification or possible ulterior motive.” We don’t know what may happen over the next week, but in the end, we agree with Jamaal Williams that we’d be okay with Rodgers sitting out a bit and living his life and doing what he needs to do with that $18.3 million he wouldn’t need to give back. You know, maybe take a trip or two. Or three. Or more.
Now, on to the rest of today’s Notes:
- Lions Wire’s Jeff Risdon thinks the team making Mike Martin its director of scouting advancement is a big score for the organization.
- On Thursday, the tight end summit run by George Kittle, Travis Kelce, and Greg Olsen dubbed “Tight End University” kicked off. As expected, Lions star T.J. Hockenson is among those in attendance and was in fact one of the first RSVPs for the event.
The guys from @te_university wore #PlayForTJ shirts to support Greg Olsen's foundation The HEARTest Yard.— NFL (@NFL) June 25, 2021
The foundation helps Greg's son TJ and others kids who were born with heart defects. ❤️ (via @gregolsen88) pic.twitter.com/MNCtgomR4k
- ESPN’s Eric Woodyard wrote about how Lions general manager Brad Holmes wants to strengthen the pipeline for future Black GMs.
- Looks like the league is trying to turn the scouting combine into a traveling spectacle similar to the rookie draft:
I can confirm this @IBJnews report that the NFL will start accepting bids from other cities besides Indianapolis to host the scouting combine starting in 2023. Combine remains in Indy for 2022. After that, up for grabs ala the draft: https://t.co/DGxyB6w3Y4— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) June 23, 2021
- Lindsay Miller, Tim Twentyman, and Mike O’Hara at the official Detroit Lions team site each selected one player that has impressed them so far this offseason.
- This is tremendous content. It is indeed a historic All-22 film.