Agent’s Take: The Packers’ reckoning with Aaron Rodgers and an inside take a look at the star QB’s three choices


The Packers suffered a shocking 13-10 defeat to the 49ers within the divisional playoff spherical. Because the NFC’s No. 1 seed for the second straight season, an early playoff exit wasn’t anticipated. With Inexperienced Bay’s season over, quarterback Aaron Rodgers‘ soccer future strikes to the forefront.

Rodgers is below contract by means of the 2022 season after his 2023 contract 12 months was become a voiding/dummy 12 months in an effort to finish his offseason rift with the Packers, throughout which he contemplated retirement. “I do not wish to be a part of a rebuild if I’ll hold enjoying,” Rodgers mentioned in a post-game session with the media. Packers management is unanimous in wanting Rodgers to return to Inexperienced Bay.

Rodgers initially indicated he would make his determination earlier than free company begins on March 16. He amended his timetable with out giving a particular date Tuesday on The Pat McAfee Present. Rodgers instructed he would resolve earlier than the tip of the franchise designation interval to be delicate to All-Professional broad receiver Davante Adams‘ state of affairs. The 15 day window to designate franchise gamers runs from Feb. 22 by means of March 8. NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport just lately reported that the Packers intend to position a franchise tag on Adams. Rodgers has three decisions: return to the Packers, demand a commerce or retire.

Return to Packers

The problems that made Rodgers disgruntled will not be an obstacle to him returning to the Packers. They’re within the rear view mirror. A strained relationship with normal supervisor Brian Gutekunst has dramatically improved since final offseason.

Inexperienced Bay having one of many NFL’s most difficult wage cap conditions may very well be a distinct story. Utilizing NFLPA knowledge, the Packers are $43.97 million over the agreed upon $208.2 million 2022 wage cap ceiling based mostly on offseason accounting guidelines. Solely the highest 51 salaries (i.e.; cap numbers) matter with these guidelines. The Packers have 51 gamers below contract for the 2022 league 12 months.

An Adams franchise tag at $20.12 million, which is not included within the $43.97 million overage, would solely compound Inexperienced Bay’s cap issues. Some wage cap gymnastics with restructuring contracts and releasing gamers are going to obligatory whether or not or not Adams is franchised.

Rodgers had an attention-grabbing response when requested on SiriusXM’s The Adam Schein Podcast earlier this month about whether or not he is thought the grass won’t be greener on the opposite aspect. He mentioned, “The grass is greener the place you water it.” The Packers can be prohibitive favorites to win a fourth straight NFC North title even with some roster turnover due to free company and the wage cap.

Rodgers enjoying out the ultimate 12 months of his contract is not possible due to Inexperienced Bay’s wage cap state of affairs and his $46,664,156 cap quantity in 2022, which is the NFL’s second largest. He’s scheduled to make to $26,970,588 in 2022 consisting of a $26,470,588 base wage and $500,000 exercise bonus.

A contract extension the place Inexperienced Bay will get vital 2022 cap aid can be so as with Rodgers returning. Rodgers reportedly rejected a Packers supply making him the NFL’s highest paid participant forward of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes‘ $45 million per 12 months throughout final offseason’s rift. Since particulars weren’t revealed, it is inconceivable to find out how team-friendly this supply was. Presumably, the Packers would nonetheless be prepared to do identical with a considerably player-friendly construction, contemplating Rodgers is on the verge of profitable back-to-back NFL MVP awards.

Rodgers’ present contract signed in 2018 included a then-record $57.5 million signing bonus. Eclipsing Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott’s file setting $66 million signing bonus may make sense below the circumstances, particularly with a willingness from Rodgers to play properly into his 40s as he beforehand said on a number of events.

The Packers ought to have the ability to clear $10 million of 2022 area cap by means of a market worth Rodgers extension. A technique this may very well be accomplished is by is reducing Rodgers’ base wage to $1,470,588 whereas giving him a $75 million signing bonus on a four-year extension. There can be $15 million of recent annual signing bonus proration from 2022 by means of 2026. Rodgers’ 2022 cap quantity would drop from $46,664,156 to $36,664,156 within the course of.

The best state of affairs for Inexperienced Bay can be for 38-year-old Rodgers, due to playoff shortcomings lately, to comply with Drew Brees’ path when he was in his late 30s. As a 39 12 months outdated, Brees gave the Saints a monetary break for the primary time in his quite a few contract dealings with the franchise in 2018 to attempt to maximize his alternative to win a second Tremendous Bowl ring. Brees in all probability might have grow to be the league’s first $30 million per 12 months participant had he exploited his leverage by exploring potential choices with different groups. As a substitute, Brees signed a two-year, $50 million contract with $27 million totally assured to stay in New Orleans after limiting negotiations to only the Saints.

$25 million per 12 months represented a 3.09% enhance over the one-year extension Brees signed in 2016. A brand new deal can be within the $35 million per 12 months neighborhood with Rodgers, whose lone Tremendous Bowl look and win was within the 2010 season, taking the same strategy. The cap aid needs to be a lot larger with out Rodgers persevering with to maximise his earnings as a result of the signing bonus would not have to be as giant.

Demand a commerce

The Packers can be reluctantly buying and selling Rodgers for the reason that organizational consensus is to maintain him within the fold. A commerce may change the calculus with Adams. He is hinted that he would in all probability wish to comply with Rodgers out the door. 2020 first spherical decide Jordan Love would not appear almost as able to grow to be the beginning quarterback as Rodgers was when Corridor of Famer Brett Favre was dealt to the Jets in 2008. Franchising Adams with the aim of buying and selling him would grow to be a viable choice.

The acquisition price for Rodgers needs to be lower than the reported three first spherical picks and two second spherical picks the Texans have needed in change for Deshaun Watson, who’s 26, given the 12 12 months age distinction between the 2 gamers. Watson can be already below contract by means of the 2025 season for $136 million, which is a median of $34 million per 12 months.

The Packers ought to have the ability to get extra in return for Rodgers than groups have with Professional Bowl caliber non-quarterbacks lately. For instance, the Texans gave up a 2020 first spherical decide (twenty sixth total), a 2021 first spherical decide (third total), a 2021 second spherical decide (thirty sixth total), security Johnson Bademosi and offensive sort out Julie’n Daveport in change for offensive sort out Laremy Tunsil, broad receiver Kenny Stills, a 2020 fourth spherical decide and a 2021 sixth spherical decide within the days main as much as the beginning of the 2019 season.

The buying staff would want $26,970,588 of cap area to soak up Rodgers’ 2022 wage. The Packers would decide up $19,817,018 of cap area with the commerce. There can be $26,847,138 of lifeless cash, which is a wage cap cost for a participant not on a staff’s roster. It might come from the $19,173,568 of 2022 bonus proration regarding his $57.5 million signing bonus, the $14.26 million transformed into signing bonus throughout a December 2019 contract restructure, the $14,464,706 of signing bonus within the July 2021 restructure and $7,637,570 of bonus proration related to the voiding/dummy 2023 contract 12 months. Presumably, the commerce would happen earlier than the beginning of the 2022 NFL Draft on April 28 as a result of the Packers would need quick draft capital.

A contract extension would possible be a necessity since 2022 is Rodgers’ contract 12 months. The buying staff additionally can be precluded from utilizing a franchise tag on Rodgers as a result of his 2023 contract 12 months would not void till the 2023 designation window has closed. Assuming Rodgers would insist upon being the league’s highest paid participant, his 2022 cap quantity might a minimum of be minimize in half relying on the scale of his signing bonus.

Rodgers reportedly had his sights set on enjoying for the Broncos final offseason earlier than mending fences with the Packers. Inexperienced Bay offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett is a finalist for the Broncos head teaching emptiness. His hiring would make Denver an much more engaging vacation spot to Rodgers.

Retire

It is exhausting to think about Rodgers retiring. The reigning MVP retiring is nearly unprecedented. The one time it has ever occurred was when Corridor of Fame working again Jim Brown hung up his cleats in 1966 after profitable the award in 1965.

Retirement can be everlasting. Rodgers has dismissed sitting out a season after which making a comeback.

Rodgers would in all probability work with the Packers, like Brees did with the Saints final 12 months when he retired, for optimum cap remedy. This could encompass Rodgers creating $26,470,588 of quick cap area by reducing his 2022 base wage to his $1.12 million league minimal wage whereas additionally eliminating his $500,000 exercise bonus and $520,000 of incentives deemed more likely to be earned which have a cap cost. The Packers would carry Rodgers on the roster till a minimum of June 2 to maintain the $7,637,570 in bonus proration regarding his voiding 2023 contract 12 months from changing into a 2022 cap cost. It might be 2023 lifeless cash. At this level, Rodgers can be positioned on the reserve/retired checklist and his $1.12 million base wage would additionally come off the books for extra cap aid.

The Packers might decide up extra cap room by exercising rights for reimbursement of the $11.5 million in 2022 signing bonus proration from Rodgers’ 2018 signing bonus. Demanding reimbursement can be a certain fireplace method to alienate Rodgers.



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