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Cheese Curds, 5/24: Packers begin OTA practices Monday

Finally, the team is back together. Well, at least some of it will be.

NFL: MAY 31 Packers OTA Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

For the first time in 2021, the Green Bay Packers will step out onto the practice field today as a full team, beginning their on-field preparations for the upcoming season.

Well, that’s the goal at least. Organized Team Activities officially begin today with the team scheduled to hold practices on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday of this week. While the sessions are closed to the public, the media will be in attendance and able to provide updates on Tuesday.

Of course, the question is whether the team will indeed have its full roster in attendance. Aaron Rodgers is of course the biggest story, and it is widely expected that he will not be present despite having a $500,000 workout bonus in his contract. But then again, if he really is prepared to retire, as has been reported by some media members, a half-million dollar check for showing up to spring practices would be relatively insignificant compared to the money he would be forfeiting from his base salary.

The Packers have plenty of workout bonuses in other players’ contracts to incentivize attendance at the next several weeks’ worth of practices, however. According to Overthecap.com, Za’Darius Smith, David Bakhtiari, Kenny Clark, Adrian Amos, Davante Adams, and Rodgers all have bonuses of $500,000 or more for this year’s offseason workouts.

The NFLPA has been advocating that players skip OTAs, with the goal being to push the NFL to move towards an all-virtual offseason, similar to that of 2020. Over the next 48 hours, we should learn much more about which Packers players, if any, take that approach and decide to work out at home before the start of minicamp in early June.

Here’s a look at where some things stand in Green Bay ahead of the start of practices today.

Lambeau Field, Titletown adjust COVID-19 protocols for visitors | Packers.com
The team is allowing for fully-vaccinated visitors to enter without masks, but still asks that anyone who is not yet vaccinated remain masked per CDC guidelines. Facility staff will remain masked regardless for the time being.

Packers will miss Jamaal Williams’ reliability in pass protection | Packers Wire
Aaron Jones has been an effective pass blocker in his own right, but Williams took that skill to a higher level. Can AJ Dillon and/or Kylin Hill help replicate Williams' tenacity in protecting the quarterback?

Packers will work out rookie QB Donald Hammond III | Packers Wire
The Packers are hosting the former Air Force quarterback for a workout on Tuesday, which coincides with the first day that OTAs are open to the public. The team does have four quarterbacks on the roster now, with the recent additions of Blake Bortles and Kurt Benkert, but Hammond could be an interesting addition, bringing athleticism to the position.

Examining Prospects of Packers Trading for Falcons Receiver Julio Jones - Sports Illustrated
It's a fun idea to imagine the Packers landing Julio Jones, but doing so would require some salary cap manipulation that is far beyond even what the Packers have done so far this offseason. But if it convinced Aaron Rodgers to return, he could open up space with an extension, which could lead the door to a new deal for Adams as well.

Man sets fire to gas pump trying to kill spider - CBS News
Believe it or not, this is not a Florida Man story. Instead, a Detroit man pulled out a lighter to try to burn a spider that was crawling on his car while in the middle of filling it up with gas.