Adam Schefter has been all over the story today regarding the Packers and Aaron Rodgers with the two sides coming to an agreement on a revised contract. Here are some of the key points brought up by Schefter and some thoughts on them.
1. Rodgers 2023 season will be a void year– This is the optical illusion clause that is going to get a lot of attention and basically mean nothing. Rodgers spent most of the offseason saying he wanted out this year and instead will be guaranteed his release two years from now when he will be 40 years old. This will disqualify the Packers from receiving any compensatory compensation when Rodgers is a free agent so in that sense it does give them slightly more incentive to trade him in 2022 but we have been saying all along that 2022 was always the likely trade year given the cap numbers in his contract and the team’s current status. 2023 would be Jordan Love’s fourth year in the NFL and the team clearly would want to take a look at him by then to decide about an option, so it was hard to see a Rodgers scenario in 2023 under any circumstance prior to this.
2. Packers agree to review Rodgers situation after the year– I would guess this means that they will agree to discuss with Rodgers his feeling about the teams in 2022 and likely give him permission to seek a trade. There are scenarios where he might say no (perhaps they win a Super Bowl in 2021) but my feeling is again there will be no material change to the decision matrix for Green Bay.
3. Rodgers contract will be adjusted for more cap space– The Packers will wind up converting a portion of his 2021 salary into a signing bonus to create much needed cap room. My guess is they will also pay him his workout money that he lost out on by not attending the offseason programs. This should give them the ability to either offer Davante Adams a stronger contract offer for an extension or to help roll over money into 2022 so they can tag Adams next year for the Last Dance II.
4. Mechanisms will be put in place to address issues with the team– I would guess this relates to the void year in the contract as well as language that removes the ability of the team to recover any bonus money in the event of retirement in 2022. Perhaps this also covers the no franchise tag provision that will be received in 2023.
All in all I don’t anticipate this changing the decision much to trade Rodgers. The team should be able to save $11.3 million on the cap in 2021 with a restructured contract. That would bring his dead money up to $28.5 million if cut or traded in 2022 and $11.327 million if not cut until 2023. While his cap number should balloon to $42.678 million in 2022 that is probably not a big deal. If he stays with the team he can certainly restructure down. If he is cut it makes little difference what the cap number is. There are ways they can tinker with the contract to bring the number down for the sake of a trade which is why any trade would likely be agreed to in February so the contract could be adjusted accordingly.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.