Aaron Rodgers was not among the players present when the Packers opened their first round of organized team activities today. Though the activities are voluntary, the Packers typically have robust attendance throughout their offseason program.
What this means for the Packers
Rodgers reportedly wants out of Green Bay, and failing to report for OTAs could be his first public step towards forcing a trade. Starting with Adam Schefter's bombshell report about Rodgers on April 29, all of Rodgers' remarks have come by proxy. Only Mike Tirico has shared information straight from Rodgers himself, and that came via a brief off-camera conversation. But for the Packers, this could cement what has been brewing largely behind the scenes for now.
It's also worth noting that Rodgers isn't alone. Though names haven't been confirmed yet, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer reports that other Packers players are staying away from OTAs in hopes of securing better workout conditions for players.
Offseason activities have been a hot topic throughout the league this spring. After last year's all-virtual offseason, the league moved to return to a more traditional structure this year, a decision that has been met with pushback from the players' union, led by former Packers center JC Tretter.
Rodgers, for his part, has been an outspoken critic of offseason workouts and, the situation with the Packers notwithstanding, this could be viewed as merely a continuation of his previous stance on that issue. Given the larger league circumstances, with players from multiple teams refusing to report en masse, it's probably wise to view Rodgers' absence with a grain of salt, if not several.
For the Packers, then, this news depends on a variety of factors. In the meantime, though, it seems that Jordan Love will handle the bulk of the first-team reps unless and until Rodgers reports.
What this means for Rodgers
Practically speaking, the most immediate consideration for Rodgers is financial. No matter what happens with the Packers this summer, Rodgers stands to lose about $500,000 if he doesn't report for offseason workouts. While he seems to be enjoying time away with his fiancée, half a million dollars is an awful lot of money, even for someone like Rodgers. Unless he's dead set on proving a point (or forcing his way out), it's a better decision financially to show up.
But assuming that Rodgers does have a grievance with the Packers at play, this is the logical step. If he wants to get out of Green Bay, this is really the only way to do it. He has to make life miserable for the Packers any way he can because that represents his only real leverage in this situation. Withholding services, even services given during an "optional" portion of the offseason, is really his only play.
However, things will soon get more interesting. A Rodgers trade becomes much more palatable after June 1, when the cost to move him drops significantly. Should his refusal to report continue past the first of the month, external pressure may grow for the Packers to make a move. Brian Gutekunst says he hasn't gotten an offer on Rodgers yet, but that may change once people know what they could stand to gain.
In addition, the Packers' mandatory minicamp begins on June 8. Should Rodgers not be in attendance when that begins, he'd face mandatory fines from the team. But, again, if he's intent on sending a message, that's really his only option.