What could an Aaron Rodgers trade look like? It is complicated
NFC North reporter
Another year, another off-season in limbo for the Green Bay Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers. After the Packers failed to make the playoffs for the first time under head coach Matt LaFleur — and a season in which Rodgers threw the second-most interceptions of his career — that may be Rodgers’ most legit talk about trades in quite some time. time.
First, we must consider the Packers’ obligations. They are expected to exceed the 2023 salary cap by $14.46 million, according to Spotrac. They’re going to have to make some adjustments no matter what happens with their current quarterback. While that’s probably the last thing he or Green Bay fans want to deal with, Aaron Jones could be first on the starting list.
A build or trade prior to June 1 would save the Packers $10.4 million. If they waited until after June 1, those savings would add up to $16 million. That’s a pretty big boost considering they already have AJ Dillon on the roster.
But the undisputed elephant in the room is Rodgers’ salary for 2023, when he is expected to earn $59,515,000. And while $58.3 million is structured as an option bonus, bringing the limit down to $31.6 million when exercised, that’s still a big chunk to spend on, according to NFL Network. a player – especially when a potential successor is waiting in the wings and staying on his rookie contract.
“I don’t think there would be a scenario where I would come back and that would be the number,” Rodgers said Tuesday. “Of course things have to change.”
But wait. Let’s go back. Rodgers hasn’t even committed to playing football next year.
He told The Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday that he still hasn’t decided whether to retire.
“It was fun to dream about quitting as a Packer because there’s something really special about it,” said the 18-year NFL veteran. “But if the competition gap has yet to be filled and it’s time to move on, I hope everyone looks at this with great gratitude.”
While Rodgers looks relaxed, the Packers must race to find the best way forward. As things stand, Green Bay has limited immediate options, even if Rodgers tells them tomorrow that he plans to play football next year. They can’t free him. The death knell would be catastrophic.
But they could trade it.
In fact, ESPN reported that the Packers are actively exploring that option within the AFC.
Green Bay has two trails there. A transaction before June 1 would result in a bull’s-eye of more than $40 million. This actually adds $8.69 million to the previous total. The incentive, however, is that it would get the Packers out of the huge contract now rather than later when that hit cap continues to rise, and allow them to get immediate returns on acquired capital projects. They would trade for crops they could use this year.
If they trade Rodgers after June 1, the Packers would save a significant amount of cap money and could lower their dead cap and spread it over the next two years. Rodgers’ contract would result in just $15.83 million dead cap for 2023 and save the organization $15.79 million this year with the caveat that would reach $24.48 million dead cap death in 2024. This seems like the best option until you take into account that the 2023 project would be completed and any acquired capital project would have a deferred return. You would postpone any asset acquisitions until 2024, which could be the last year of Jordan Love’s contract if they accept his fifth-year option.
This is a different decision. Say the Packers trade Rodgers after June 1, rolling with Love without taking his fifth-year option, which could exceed $20 million by 2024, because they have an idea if he could be their QB of the future. If he is, they might still be able to get to that $20 million a year price tag for a long-term deal before he’s released. If they don’t sell, they could have several first-round picks in 2024 to dedicate to their QB franchise.
“The Packers had this interesting take on staff from outside the building guesswork that it’s better to leave a year before a guy isn’t done until a year later,” Rodgers said Tuesday. . “Is that their mentality deep down? Now, as an organization they’re not going to say anything about that, and why would you? There’s not too often, unfortunately sometimes, as Mark Murphy said last year, in a situation where there don’t have to be sides, there can be sides that are equal.”
Trade Aaron Rodgers-Packers would be a “real possibility.”
Could Aaron Rodgers be on the market? According to Ian Rapoport, there is a “real possibility” that the Green Bay Packers QB will be traded this offseason. Colin Cowherd looks at some possible destinations.
Rogers is right. There are no sides here. Although they leave Rodgers, Green Bay still trades in what they believe is the best interest of the franchise. Letting Rodgers go is a business and those decisions are real, not personal.
All this assuming they also find a willing partner in a Rodgers swap. This situation has turned into something like overseas contracts in professional football. In the English Premier League, for example, a player’s rights are acquired separately from his actual salary. This means that teams often pay themselves huge sums of money just for the right to negotiate with superstar players. They must then meet the salary requirements of that player.
Bring it back to Rodgers’ situation and the buyout isn’t necessarily cash, but now draft or player capital. Teams will have to give up a draft in order to acquire Rodgers in the first place. They will then have to honor his fully guaranteed salary, though it seems Rodgers is open to these aforementioned “changes” to make him more palatable.
Would teams really be willing to do that for the 39-year-old future Hall of Famer at this point in his career?
As one NFL coach simply put it to me, “Absolutely.”
Elite – and perhaps more importantly, proven – quarterback talent is hard to come by. It always has been. Rodgers thinks he can still play at the MVP level. He still wants to compete for championships. He’s just waiting for the “right situation,” as he said a few weeks ago.
The New York Jets could be such a good place as Rodgers would follow in the footsteps of Brett Favre, his predecessor at Green Bay. General manager Joe Douglas is known for being aggressive. He could afford to pay a high price and moreover would probably be willing given the disastrous situation the Jets have been going through recently. At this point, Spotrac estimates that New York will bring in $2.67 million over the cap for 2023. They can’t really save money on disgruntled quarterback Zach Wilson unless they find a willing business partner only after June 1. But $2 million can be shaved pretty easily. Finding the remaining $29 million for Rodgers’ hat-trick would be a different story.
There’s another job opening in New York that Rodgers might also be interested in. They fired their offensive coordinator this offseason (the brother of the current Rodgers head coach, by the way) and are rumored to be heavily considering Nathaniel Hackett. No, it didn’t work out for Hackett in Denver as head coach, but he would reunite with Rodgers after just one season. After all, Hackett was Rodgers’ general manager for his two recent MVP wins. Could this be a way for Douglas to attract more Rodgers?
More than that, would Green Bay find a worthwhile deal?
“I am open to any honest and direct conversation and if [the Packers] I felt it was in the best interest of the team to move forward, so be it,” said Rodgers. “It wouldn’t offend me. It wouldn’t make me feel like a victim. nurturing towards the team. I like the team. I like the organization. I like the city. I like the environment… I really like what’s happening in Green Bay. And that’s where I’d like to end up. I want. And maybe that’s where I would have ended up. Who knows? But when I talk about my future, I don’t speak in cryptic terms. I’m pretty direct in what I feel and I take my time with my decision. And I’m in a sense not egocentric to think I should be able to play wherever I want as long as I want.There are two sides to that.”
If that sounds a little contradictory, that’s because it is. It is difficult to argue against parties and then declare that they exist. You can’t say “who knows?” while saying that you are not enigmatic. Rodgers holds a giant piece of the puzzle for the Packers. They can’t do anything until they know if he will play football next year.
So the question is not whether Green Bay can realistically go further than Aaron Rodgers. That’s when Aaron Rodgers will let them go.
Carmen Vitali covers the NFC North for FOX Sports. Carmen has previously made stops at The Draft Network and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. She spent six seasons with the Bucs, including 2020, which added the Super Bowl championship title (and Boat Parade participant) to her resume. You can follow Carmen on Twitter at @CarmieV.
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