The Aaron Rodgers Conundrum

The Aaron Rodgers Conundrum

Another NFC Championship defeat and a seemingly calculated quote leaves the immediate future of QB Aaron Rodgers & the Packers in question (we think). We’ll strip away all outside factors here and simply breakdown what his current contract says in terms of a trade or retirement this offseason.

If Rodgers Retires…
The contract has $74.22M remaining over the next three seasons, and as of right now, NONE of it is guaranteed. A $6.8M roster bonus is said to be paid on March 19th, another $500,000 will be owed during summer workouts, but his $15M salary won’t fully guaranteed until Week 1.  If he walks away immediately, the Packers will take on a whopping $31.5M dead cap charge, which would still actually clear $6M of space. If the Packers wait to process his retirement until after June 1st, while also converting that roster bonus into a signing bonus (spread over the remaining 3 seasons), the dead cap hits become $16.6M in 2021, and $21.7M in 2022, savings of $20.9M & $18.1M respectively.

If Rodgers is Traded…
The numbers above pretty much stay the same, with the condition of the $6.8M roster bonus. If  Rodgers demands a trade, he’ll want it done immediately, meaning the Packers will be stuck with the $31.5M dead cap charge - a huge problem. So can they work with the new team and Rodgers to make this easier on them? Maybe (but probably not). I’d again recommend the Packers convert the $6.8M roster bonus into an immediate signing bonus (spread out over the next 3 seasons), and wait to process this trade until June 2nd. This means a $16.6M dead cap charge in 2021, & a $21.7M hit in 2022.

The Takeaway
Trading Aaron Rodgers is a terrible idea - both from a football standpoint and a business one as well. Even if Jordan Love is being groomed as the next option, it’s inconceivable to assume he’s at a ready point to take over, and the unavoidable dead cap figures to move on from Rodgers are just too high to handle - in any scenario.

The Solution
Do what the Patriots refused to do in 2019 or 2020. Go ALL-IN on your roster for 1 season. If Rodgers wants Kenny Golladay opposite Adams, sign him. If Stephon Gilmore wants a 4 year contract to replace Kevin King - sign him. If Aaron Jones wants more than $10M per year on a multi-year deal, franchise tag him. If Corey Linsley wants to be a Top 5 paid center - extend him. This isn’t (just) about legacy, it’s actually bad business to have Aaron Rodgers playing somewhere else. The alternative is to please him, and aren’t there worse things than making an MVP happy?