Here's the Bottom Line - Bill Huber of SI.com is reporting multiple sportsbooks believe Aaron Rodgers will announce his retirement before Wednesday's first practice of training camp. Here's more detail.
Because of the importance of the reigning NFL MVP, Westgate SuperBook recently closed all its NFC North markets, including projected wins, playoff odds, divisional odds and weekly lines for the four division teams, one oddsmaker at the sportsbook said via a Twitter direct message.
Two other sportsbooks contacted after that initial message said the expectation is Rodgers is going to announce his retirement sometime before the first practice on Wednesday. In response, one of those sportsbooks pushed out its prices on the Packers to win the NFC North and shortened the odds for the other teams. It also shortened the odds of Patrick Mahomes II winning NFL MVP.
As one source with knowledge of the dynamics of the Rodgers situation said in response to these developments, “Vegas oddsmakers tend to be pretty sharp.” The source added that a lot of scenarios are in play, and “many, many factors” will be relevant to the outcome.
Rodgers has kept his card close to the vest. A retirement for 2021 would make sense since it would help him avoid up to $2 million in fines for holding out of training camp. However, he’d still lose a $6.8 million roster bonus earned in March and payable each week of the 2021 regular season. He’d also be subject to repayment of $11.5 million in unearned signing bonus money for 2021. (Some believe the Packers would never try to collect, or successfully recover, the $11.5 million.)
He then could unretire in 2022, with the Packers trading him and Rodgers resuming his career.
Florio talked here back in June about how a brief retirement would give him more flexibility and be better for him financially than holding out.
Unless you're a Packers fan or drafting your fantasy team before Wednesday, this is mostly a curiosity or an interesting story. In some ways, if Rodgers were to actually retire, we'd have clarity sooner than if this turned into a long holdout. So we should have clarity on the retirement question soon.
If you are drafting before Wednesday or if you do need to make a roster decision with Rodgers, you don't get to just shrug your shoulders. You need to know what this means.
For me, it means the odds of Aaron Rodgers taking the field as the Week 1 Packers quarterback went from about 80% in my opinion yesterday to about 50% today.
And let's be clear, this "news" is based completely upon the sportsbooks taking NFC North bets off the board temporarily. There isn't an on-the-record quote from Rodgers or his agent or anyone right now. This is purely us reacting to the sportsbooks. On the flip side, sportsbooks are in the business of knowing things before the public that would affect win totals. And Aaron Rodgers' availability as the Packers QB would most definitely fall in that category of affecting win totals.
And another point for clarity: For the books to take NFC North bets off the board does not mean they know Rodgers is retiring. It means they have enough reason to believe Rodgers might retire that they don't want to risk the exposure on either side of the line until they know more. But it's a big deal. Books are literally in the business of taking bets and closing the window is significant.
And just to keep it even more intriguing, Matt Schneidman shared this note: "Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams have the same Instagram story up right now" showing a picture of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen which has everyone thinking "The Last Dance".
Bottom line, I'm dropping my expectation of Rodgers to be the Week 1 starter in Green Bay down from 80% yesterday to 50% today. Which has of course ripple effects on the rest of the Packer players. Most notably, Davante Adams, who made his own news yesterday with long-term contract talks breaking down.
And hopefully, we'll have clarity soon. If you'd like to dive deep with everything we do at Footballguys, please check out the Premium Subscriptions where we give you everything we've got to help you win more at fantasy football. As always, there's a 30-day moneyback guarantee so there's zero risk.