NFL. Future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers could be traded from Green Bay


A down season, cap pressure and the decline of Aaron Rodgers have the Packers weighing trade options for future farmhands, CARMEN VITALI reports.

Another year, another offseason of uncertainty for the Green Bay Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

After the Packers failed to make the postseason for the first time under head coach Matt LaFleur and a season in which Rodgers threw the second-most interceptions of his career, this might be the most legitimate Rodgers deal talk has been in recent memory.

First, we have to consider the Packers’ commitments. They are projected to be $14.46 million over the 2023 salary cap, according to Spotrac. They need to make some cuts regardless of what happens with their current quarterback. While it’s probably the last thing he or Green Bay fans want to face, running back Aaron Jones could be first on the list to go.

A release or trade before June 1 would save the Packers $10.4 million. If they had waited after June 1, those savings would have reached 16 million dollars. That’s quite a boost considering they already have AJ Dillon on the roster.

But the undisputed elephant in the room is Rodgers’ salary for 2023, when he’s set to make $59,515,000. And while $58.3 million of that is built into an option bonus, bringing his cap hit to $31.6 million, according to NFL Network, that’s still a lot to allocate to one player, especially when the potential a successor awaits him. wings and remains on his rookie contract.

“I don’t think there’s going to be a scenario where I come back and that’s the number,” Rodgers said Tuesday. “Definitely everything must change.”

But wait. Let’s back up. Rodgers hasn’t even committed to playing football next year.

He told the Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday that he has not yet decided whether he will retire.

“It’s been a lot of fun dreaming about retiring as a puck because there’s something really special about that,” the 18-year NFL veteran said. “But if there’s a competitive hole still to be filled and it’s time to move on, I hope everyone looks back on it with great appreciation.”

While Rodgers appears relaxed, the Packers will have to scramble to figure out the best path forward. As it stands, Green Bay has limited immediate options, even if Rodgers tells them tomorrow that he intends to play football next year. They cannot release him. A dead cap hit would be catastrophic.

But they could trade him.

In fact, ESPN reported that the Packers are actively exploring that option within the AFC.

Green Bay has two ways there. Trading prior to June 1 would result in over $40 million in dead equity. It actually adds $8.69 million to the previous total. However, the incentive there is that it would get the Packers out of a massive contract now, rather than later, when that cap hit continues to grow, and would allow them to get an immediate return on any capital acquired. They will trade picks they could have used this year.

Now, if they trade Rodgers after June 1st, the Packers will save significant cap money and can reduce their dead cap hit as well as spread it over the next two years. Rodgers’ contract will only bring in $15.83 million in cap space in 2023 and save the organization $15.79 million this year, with a cap hit of $24.48 million in 2024. That seems like a better option, until you consider that in 2023. The project will be completed and any capital project acquired will have a deferred return. You’ll be delaying any acquisitions until 2024, which could be the final year of Jordan Love’s contract if they pick up his fifth-year option.

There is one more decision in it. Let’s say the Packers trade Rodgers after June 1, floating Love without picking up his fifth-year option, which could reach more than $20 million in 2024, as they feel whether he could be their QB of the future. If he is, they may still be able to hit that $20 million per year price on a long-term deal before he hits free agency. If they don’t trade, they could have a couple of first round picks to give away in 2024 to their franchise QB.

“The Packers have had this interesting perspective from the speculation on the staff from outside the building that it’s better to move on a year before a guy graduates than a year after,” Rodgers said Tuesday. “Is that their mindset deep down? Now, as an organization, they’re not going to say any of that, and why are you? Not much to win. Often, unfortunately, sometimes, as Mark Murphy pointed out last year, in a situation where there shouldn’t be sides, there can be sides that are drawn.”

Rogers is right. There are no sides here. Even if they move on from Rodgers, Green Bay is still acting in what they believe is the best interest of the franchise. Letting Rodgers go is business, and those decisions are reality, not personal.

All of this assumes they find a willing partner in a Rodgers trade as well. This situation has devolved into something more reminiscent of contracts between pro football ponds. In the English Premier League, for example, players’ rights are acquired separately from their actual wages. That means teams often pay each other huge sums of money just for the right to negotiate superstar players. They must then meet the player’s salary requirements.

Bring it back to the Rodgers situation, and the buyout doesn’t have to be cash, but now draft or player equity. Teams will have to give up in order to get Rodgers in the first place. They would then have to honor his fully guaranteed salary, although it appears Rodgers is subject to the aforementioned “shifts” to make it more palatable.

Would teams really be willing to do that for the 39-year-old future Hall of Famer at this stage in his career?

One of the NFL coaches explained it to me. “Absolutely”:

Elite, and perhaps most importantly, proven defensive talent is hard to come by. It has always been. Rodgers believes he can still play at an MVP level. He still wants to fight for the championship. He’s just waiting for “the right situation,” as he said a few weeks ago.

The New York Jets could be that exact situation, as Rodgers will follow in the footsteps of his predecessor Brett Favre in Green Bay. CEO Joe Douglas is known for being aggressive. He could afford to pay a hefty trade price and would probably want to, given what a disaster it has been for the Jets of late.

Right now, Spotrac projects New York to be $2.67 million over 2023. They can’t spare any money on disgruntled quarterback Zach Wilson unless they find a willing trade partner after June 1st. But $2 million can be easily shaved off. Coming up with the remaining $29 million for Rodgers’ cap hit would be a different story.

There is another vacancy in New York that might also interest Rodgers. They fired their offensive coordinator this offseason (the brother of Rodgers’ current head coach, by the way) and are rumored to be strongly considering Nathaniel Hackett. No, it didn’t work out for Hackett as head coach in Denver, but he would reunite with Rodgers after just one season away. After all, Hackett was Rodgers’ OC for his last two MVP wins. Could this be Douglas’ way of further enticing Rodgers?

Furthermore, would Green Bay find the deal worth it?

“I’m open to all honest and direct conversations, and if (the Packers) felt it was in the best interest of the team to move forward, so be it,” Rodgers said. “It won’t hurt me. It won’t victimize me. I would have no animosity towards the team. I love the team. I love organization. I love the city. I love the region… I really love what’s going on in Green Bay. And I’d like to finish there. I would like: And I could be done there. Who knows?

“But when I talk about my future, I don’t talk in secret words. I am quite direct in my feelings and take my time with my decision. And I’m not selfish in any way to think that I should be able to play wherever I want for as long as I want. There are two sides to this.”

If that sounds a little counterintuitive, that’s because it is. It’s hard to argue against sides and then state that there are. You can’t say “who knows”. while you say you’re not sneaky. Rodgers holds back a giant piece of the puzzle for the Packers. They can’t do anything until they know if he’s going to play football next year.

So the question isn’t whether Green Bay can realistically move on from Aaron Rodgers. That’s when Aaron Rodgers is going to let them.

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