The fact that Aaron Rodgers was upset last year with the way the Packers handled the draft was pretty well documented and now it looks as if he is sending out feelers on getting moved in a trade.
Reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers is so disgruntled with the Green Bay Packers that he has told some within the organization that he does not want to return to the team, league and team sources told ESPN on Thursday.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 29, 2021
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These threats from players are often hollow because of the massive costs that can be associated with sitting out/retiring and for Rodgers this should also be the case. Rodgers signed a new contract in 2018 which paid him a $57.5 million signing bonus. There is still $23 million of that money outstanding in his contract and all subject to forfeiture if he were to walk away from the NFL. In addition his $6.8 million roster bonus that was paid this year would also be in jeopardy. Such forfeitures would not begin to trigger until training camp which is a good distance away but would have to be in the mind of Rodgers if he held out for any period of time. There are also now mandatory massive fines in the CBA. Rodgers would lose $50,000 a day if he did not report to camp and held out. There are also minor fines for missing other offseason activities.
These are reasons why the teams often hold all the cards in player disputes like this. They have tremendous financial leverage over the player and know that it is very difficult for the players to actually hold out when the time comes for the real football season to begin.
The Packers, who have all kinds of salary cap issues in 2021, notably did not restructure Rodgers contract for salary cap relief. This is something that they could have done without any renegotiation but the fact that they did not indicates that they want to keep the door open to a trade in the future. That future is in 2022 not 2021.
The cost to trade Rodgers on the cap would be $38.356 million, a loss of $1.1 million in cap room for the year. It would also mean that the team paid Rodgers $6.8 million in 2021 just to trade him. If they delayed a trade until June the cost would be more affordable with “just” $21.152 million dead this year and the balance deferred to next season. Given that everything the Packers have done this offseason would indicate that they want to give it one last shot with Rodgers a trade would pretty much throw their team into chaos.
Trading Rodgers in 2022 would cost $17.204 million on the cap. He has no offseason roster bonuses that year so they would have time to work out a trade and not be required to prepay anything prior to a trade which is what would occur this year if they traded him. Ever since they drafted Jordan Love all signs pointed to a 2022 divorce and even if Rodgers wants to hasten the divorce the Packers hold the leverage to not allow it until next year.
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.