Packers Offered Rodgers a Contract Extension

Adam Schefter had an interesting tweet this morning about the Packers having offered Aaron Rodgers an extension at some point this offseason.

While much of this story is apparently old news some of the points here are worth discussing a little bit as it is important to get a good grasp on a contract offer before jumping to any conclusions.

From the tweet we can take away really just two things- the team offered to add two years onto Rodgers’ existing contract and that those two years had to have been worth at least $90.1 million dollars (that is the number it would take to pass Patrick Mahomes $45 million contract). The part about tying Rodgers to Green Bay for five years is just hyperbole as no non-rookie NFL contract is going to lock a player up for five full years. The part about this being not about the money is also just opinion as without concrete details we can’t say either way.

The big question would be what is the structure of the contract?  As Rodgers contract currently stands he is clearly tradeable/cuttable after this season. His 2022 cap number stands at $39.852 million and the cost to trade or release would be $17.204 million. In order for Rodgers to truly benefit from an extension and keep him locked in as the starter for the next few years he would need some type of financial guarantee that changes the complexion of his contract.

For example years ago when Donovan McNabb was the starting QB for Washington he was upset with a long term contract he signed in 2002 with the Eagles. Though the Eagles did tinker with that deal a bit they ultimately traded him to Washington to be their problem. Mid way through that season the team currently known as the Football Team pacified the situation by signing McNabb to a massive(for its time) five year extension worth nearly $75 million. However, of that $75 million McNabb only received $3.5 million as a form of a raise in the year of signing and was promptly traded to Minnesota the following year where he took a massive pay cut and as eventually released from his contract.

The other end of the spectrum would be the current contract signed by DeAndre Hopkins that on paper averages $27.25 million in new money. As part of that contract Hopkins received a raise in the first year of the deal of $16.5 million and overall the team converted a ton of salary to a signing bonus worth $27.5 million. As more insurance for Hopkins his second year salary was fully guaranteed and his third year salary was virtually guaranteed. He also has a no trade provision as part of the contract. That is truly a contract that ties Hopkins to Arizona for at least three of the next five years.

The two types of contracts are radically different and would mean very different things to the player and team. The McNabb contract is an attempt to get through a year and make a situation more manageable. The Hopkins one is making a commitment to a player. How different would they look for Rodgers?  Here would be how the McNabb style deal might break down if we assume a $7 million signing bonus as part of the deal and a salary guarantee of just his 2021 salary.

YearSalaryProratedCapDead MoneyTotal CashNew Cash

Nothing in a contract like that would prevent the team from moving to Jordan Love by the end of this year or next year. The dead money of $22.804 million is only $5.6 million higher than his current total and the gain in cap room would be huge. Even if they guaranteed his 2022 salary they could opt to trade him. Nothing in that offer would make Rodgers accept it nor would anything in it be any real commitment. It is simply a token offer.

Contrast that with a Hopkins style contract where the team pays Rodgers a $50.5 million signing bonus and you virtually guarantee the first three years and add the no trade.  

YearSalaryProratedCapDead MoneyTotal CashNew Cash

This is a totally different type of offer. This is a firm commitment to Rodgers for the next three seasons which coincidentally would also reach the end of the Love contract as well, which they could opt into in 2024. Turning this down would really be turning down a nice deal especially if he could be forced into playing next year in Green Bay without a new offer.

Both of these examples are extremes and there are plenty of numbers in the middle that can work but without knowing this it is difficult to really say what kind of an offer Rodgers received. It is even hard to determine which side is leaking info as the part about the money could be taken both ways in an effort to spin whatever damage control needs to be spun.

With training camps soon opening up we should get more clarity on whatever situations will exist with Rodgers and the Packers. It is late in the game to be talking trade but for a team with a mediocre QB situation and cap room I guess anything is possible.