Aaron Rodgers’ contract has been increasingly speculated upon over the first few months of the 2021 offseason, but has it also been the reason why the Green Bay Packers have not yet signed any major outside free agents?
ESPN’s Rob Demovsky recently published an insightful piece that used the anonymous perspectives of “an agent, a high-ranking scout, a veteran assistant coach and a front-office executive” to thoroughly examine Rodgers’ contract situation with the Packers.
While mostly a review of what’s already been said and established, there was an insightful detail shared about the Packers’ free-agent approach in 2021 that could help explain why a long snapper has been Green Bay’s only outside signing this offseason.
Here’s what an anonymous NFL agent told ESPN about his communications with the Packers:
“I don’t know who’s really calling shots there, whether it’s (chief contract negotiator) Russ (Ball), Gutey, Murphy, whoever. But it’s screwing the Packers in a lot of ways right now because there’s just no cap space. They’ve called me about one of my players and said ‘Hey, this is where we are now, and until we get something big done — hint, hint — we don’t have any space.’ It’s kind of like a lose-lose situation right now. That’s what (is) surprising to me is, you’d think there would be a middle-ground situation to get something done.”
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What Moves Remain With Rodgers’ Contract?
Rodgers is coming off an MVP season in 2020 and under contract for another three years, so it sometimes feels ridiculous to talk about whether the Packers need to more clearly define his future with the team. Then again, it has been less than a year since the Packers’ controversial decision to trade up and draft first-round quarterback Jordan Love as his potential successor.
The Packers have done all they can to **verbally** commit to Rodgers for the long-term future with president/CEO Mark Murphy, general manager Brian Gutekunst and head coach Matt LaFleur each leaving no room for grey area on his current status. But so far, nothing has been done to express that confidence financially despite having options.
Originally, the Packers could have converted either Rodgers’ $6.8 million roster bonus or $14.7 million base salary into a signing bonus to create cap relief for 2021, but the window closed on the bonus when the team paid it out in mid-March. Conversion rights are built into Rodgers’ contract and don’t require his permission, so they could still do a simple restructure with his salary. It comes at the cost of owing Rodgers more money in the final two years of his deal, though.
The other option is the Packers extending Rodgers’ contract again. Green Bay last extended him in 2018, but the three-time MVP has made it clear he wants to play beyond his current deal — which expires after the 2023 season. Giving him the recommitment has desires could secure the most important position of Green Bay’s roster for the long term while also giving them immediate financial flexibility.
Until something gets done, though, it is all just possibilities.
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