As Packers’ off-season workouts begin this week, players have incentives to participate

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Updated: April 21, 2014
Jordy Nelson, Corey Webster

By Rob Demovsky | ESPN.com

GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Green Bay Packers begin their offseason program on Tuesday, which means most — if not all of the players — will return to town today.

Packers Workout Bonuses
Player Bonus
QB Aaron Rodgers $500,000
OLB Clay Matthews $500,000
CB Sam Shields $500,000
G Josh Sitton $300,000
CB Tramon Williams $300,000
S Morgan Burnett $300,000
WR Jordy Nelson $250,000
LB A.J. Hawk $250,000
G T.J. Lang $200,000
OLB/DE Mike Neal $200,000
LB Brad Jones $200,000
K Mason Crosby $150,000
T Bryan Bulaga $100,000
DT B.J. Raji $100,000
CB Jarrett Bush $100,000
P Tim Masthay $100,000
RB James Starks $75,000
TE Andrew Quarless $75,000
DT Letroy Guion $50,000
FB John Kuhn $25,000
LS Brett Goode $25,000
Total: $4,300,000
Source: ESPN Stats & Information
contract data

Nothing is mandatory, but nearly a third of their players have workout bonuses in their contracts. While it may vary from deal to deal, typically players must participate in 80 to 90 percent of the offseason program in order to collect their bonuses.

A total of 21 players have bonuses tied to the offseason workout program. In fact, according to ESPN Stats & Information contract data, the Packers have the highest potential payout on workout bonuses in the NFL this offseason at $4.3 million.

That is due in part because they have six players who rank among the top 20 in workout bonuses this year, including three players — quarterback Aaron Rodgers, linebacker Clay Matthews and cornerback Sam Shields — who are tied for the second-largest workout bonus in the league this offseason at $500,000. Only New York Jets tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson has a larger workout bonus at $750,000.

Other Packers who rank among the top 20 are safety Morgan Burnett, guard Josh Sitton and cornerback Tramon Williams.

Even injured players who may not be able to participate in the workouts, such as Matthews (who is recovering from thumb surgery), can collect their workout bonuses by reporting to Lambeau Field and taking part in whatever exercises they can.

Per the rules of the collective bargaining agreement of 2011, the offseason program can last no more than 10 weeks with no more than four workouts per week, and none on the weekends. Full-contact practices are not allowed.

The first phase is limited to strength training and conditioning. In the second phase, coaches are allowed to be on the field with players doing individual and position drills without helmets. The third phase includes organized team activities (OTAs) and a minicamp (the only mandatory part of the offseason program).

In the OTA/minicamp portion, helmets but no pads except for protective knee and elbow pads are allowed. Full team (11-on-11) drills are allowed, but live contract drills between offensive and defensive linemen or receivers and defensive backs is prohibited.