Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers’ Contract Holding Up Packers?

Aaron Rodgers is content to go year-to-year with the Packers, but that’s not necessarily ideal for their 2021 cap situation. This week, one agent told Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com that the uncertainty surrounding his contract has prevented the team from making moves in free agency. 

It’s screwing the Packers in a lot of ways right now because there’s just no cap space,” the agent said. “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.”

The Packers could do a simple conversion, turning a piece of Rodgers’ $14.7MM base salary into a signing bonus. However, that would only kick the can down the road, leaving them in a worse spot next year. A restructured deal could make sense for both sides, but it’s not a given that Rodgers is in a cooperative mood right now.

Meanwhile, Rodgers is still not over the team’s first-round selection of Jordan Love last year.

All I can do is play my best and I feel like last year I did do that,” the reigning NFL MVP said recently. “[I] may have thrown a wrench into some timelines that may have been thought about or desired.”

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QB Notes: Rodgers, Steelers, Broncos, Pats

While Aaron Rodgers is content to go year-to-year with the Packers, who have declined to restructure his contract to create cap space this offseason, the reigning MVP has made no secret of the fact he is gunning for the job Alex Trebek held for 36 years. The first week of the Jeopardy! episodes Rodgers previously taped wrapped Friday, and although the show’s run of guest hosts will continue after next week’s shows, the 37-year-old quarterback wants to become Trebek’s successor. With Jeopardy! filming five episodes per day two days a week — on Mondays and Tuesdays — Rodgers believes he can become the show’s next full-time host without retiring from the NFL.

I don’t think I’d need to give up football to do it. They film 46 days a year. I worked 187 this year in Green Bay. That gives me, eh, 178 days to do “Jeopardy!” So I feel like I could fit 46 into that 178 and make it work,” Rodgers said, via The Ringer’s Claire McNear. “It would be a dream job for sure, and I’m not shy at all about saying I want the job. That’s how I went into it. I want an opportunity to be in the mix.”

Jeopardy! films in Los Angeles, so it may create some issues if the show — in the event Rodgers landed the gig — filmed episodes during training camp, the regular season or the playoffs. Just ahead of his most recent contract agreement, in 2018, Rodgers said he would love to play until at least age 40. Four hosts, including Jeopardy! mainstay Ken Jennings, preceded Rodgers this year. Five more will take their turns after Rodgers’, creating a crowded mix to succeed Trebek, who died in November 2020. Shifting back to strictly NFL matters, here is the latest from the quarterback world:

  • Among QBs in his age range, Ben Roethlisberger stands alone. The other two 2004 first-round QBs — Eli Manning and Philip Rivers — retired. So did Drew Brees. Tom Brady relocated, and the Packers drafted Rodgers’ would-be heir apparent in Jordan Love. The Steelers, however, are still Roethlisberger-dependent. They will not trade up from No. 24 to draft a quarterback, according to Mark Kaboly of The Athletic (subscription required), who notes that it would not be too surprising if Roethlisberger ended up staying on for his age-40 season in 2022 while the organization figures out its long-awaited plan.
  • Washington looms as a team that appears interested in trading up for a quarterback, but the team may have company. The Broncos and Patriots loom as other candidates to move up the board for a passer, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (video link). A trade-up maneuver would not cost the Broncos (No. 9) what the Patriots (No. 15) would have to pay. New England is usually big on trading back and accumulating picks, but the franchise zagged by splurging in free agency this offseason. And its QB situation is considerably different from what it was when Bill Belichick trade-downs were commonplace. Both teams would benefit from the run of quarterbacks pushing non-QB prospects down the board, but neither appears to have a viable long-term answer. The Broncos are planning to add to their Drew Lock-centered QB room and discussed Matthew Stafford and Sam Darnold. But Lock may remain unchallenged going into the draft.
  • Nate Sudfeld‘s 49ers contract is a one-year deal worth $990K, according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter). The former Eagles third-stringer will receive $252K guaranteed, and $138K is available via incentives.

Aaron Rodgers On Packers Future

Aaron Rodgers was vague about his future when appearing on SportsCenter over the weekend, and during a Monday appearance on the ‘Pat McAfee Show,’ he elaborated more on his situation with the Packers (Twitter video link).

Rodgers certainly didn’t sound like someone expecting to be a Packer for life, saying “my future, is really, a lot of it’s out of my control.” He added that it’s “quite uncertain which directions things are going to go.” Any eyebrows that weren’t already raised around the league certainly are now.

All I can do is play my best and I feel like last year I did do that,” the reigning NFL MVP explained. The real kicker came next, when Rodgers said he “may have thrown a wrench into some timelines that may have been thought about or desired” with his stellar 2020 season.

He clearly was referring to the fact that Packers brass drafted Jordan Love in the first-round in 2020, and may have been planning to put him out to pasture sooner rather than later. His dominant campaign and run to the NFC Championship Game obviously made things a lot more difficult for Green Bay.

Rodgers is reportedly seeking a new contract this offseason, and some rival execs and coaches think he wants a fresh start elsewhere. The Rams apparently made a push for Rodgers before dealing for Matthew Stafford, although the Packers have insisted for now that he isn’t available. Interestingly Rodgers said the adjustments he made to his mentality and general life outlook, which he’s discussed heavily over the past year, happened before the drafting of Love.

The change was before that. The perspective adjustments and the course corrections with my own life, personal life, headspace,” all came prior to that, and “the draft was just an opportunity for those to play out in real time where I had an opportunity to respond using the tools that I’ve tried to cultivate and the habits I was trying to form and adjust in real time. And so I got a great opportunity to show where I was at mentally and to grow and to just be myself.”

Rodgers seems content not knowing if he’ll be in Green Bay long-term, and it’s a very interesting dynamic for a team with Super Bowl aspirations to have coming off a 13-3 season. Things could come to a head sometime in the near future, but for now all we’ve got is cryptic comments.

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Latest On Aaron Rodgers’ Future With Packers

Since the Packers surprised many by trading up for quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of last year’s draft, starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers has continually expressed doubt that he’ll finish his career with Green Bay. During an appearance on ESPN yesterday, Rodgers reiterated that skepticism.

“I said last year, I didn’t know if that was actually possible…to be able to finish [In Green Bay],” Rodgers said (via ESPN’s Field Yates on Twitter). “I still feel like that’s kind of where we’re at. I don’t know if a lot of that’s in my hands, and I guess we’ll see as we go.”

Rodgers seemed to respond to the Packers’ selection of Love, as the veteran had one of the best seasons of his career in 2021. The 37-year-old led the NFL and set career-highs in completion percentage (70.7) and touchdowns (48), earning him his first MVP award since the 2014 campaign (he also finished with first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors). However, the Packers lost in disappointing fashion to the Buccaneers during the NFC Championship Game, and Rodgers’ comments following the loss raised some eyebrows.

Rodgers repeated that his future with the team was uncertain, with some pundits interpreting the comments as a goodbye message. The quarterback has since downplayed those comments, and the organization has continued to assert that the future Hall of Famer will be back next season. Still, we’ve since heard that Rodgers is now seeking a new deal, and rival coaches and executives believe that the veteran wants out immediately (the Rams even reportedly made a run at the quarterback before pivoting to Matthew Stafford).

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Latest On Aaron Jones, Corey Linsley

The Packers have not dusted off their franchise tag in a while, last using it on nose tackle Ryan Pickett in 2010. They may be on the verge of a change in offseason strategy.

Beginning his fourth offseason as GM, Brian Gutekunst has top-tier free agents Aaron Jones and Corey Linsley barely a week away from being able to negotiate with other teams for the first time. An All-Pro center, Linsley expects to test the market. This would leave Jones in the tag crosshairs.

We certainly could (tag Jones). I think it’s something we’re working through. Again, it’s not a philosophical thing to avoid it,” Gutekunst said of using the tag, via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. “I do think there’s usually better ways to go about it, but certainly if I think as we get down the road here over the next week or so, if that becomes what is in the best interest of the Packers, I think we’ll do that. But at this point, we haven’t done that.”

It cost the Titans $10.3MM to tag Derrick Henry last year, though the sides reached an extension agreement on deadline day last July. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic’s anticipated impact on the 2021 cap, the Packers may have the opportunity to tag Jones at barely $8MM. This would be a difficult scenario for Jones, who saw fellow 2017 draftees Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, Dalvin Cook and Joe Mixon cash in — all on deals worth at least $12MM annually — last year. But it would allow the Packers an unusual way to retain one of the best players.

The Packers and Jones negotiated extensively last year, and the 25-year-old running back changed agents during the process. An offer that would have paid Jones at least $12MM annually did not result in a deal. That proposal was light on guarantees, however. The team has until March 9 to tag Jones. Green Bay RB2 Jamaal Williams is expected to depart via free agency, which would seemingly elevate 2020 second-round pick A.J. Dillon.

A 2014 fifth-round pick, Linsley agreed on a Packers extension that ran through 2020. Coming off an All-Pro season, Linsley appears poised to approach or surpass Ryan Kelly‘s market-topping contract ($12.4MM AAV, $25MM fully guaranteed). It does not sound like the Packers will extend him to keep him off the market by the time the legal tampering period begins March 15.

Finding a way to bring him back would be ideal, but at the same time obviously, at the level of compensation that he’s at, he’s earned that,” Gutekunst said. “We certainly would never close the door on someone like Corey Linsley. We’ll see as we get down what’s possible and what’s not.”

Going into the spring tag deadline, the Packers have work to do before being free to tag Jones. They are more than $11MM over the projected salary cap, even after a David Bakhtiari restructure and the releases of Rick Wagner and Christian Kirksey. The Packers are discussing a restructure with Aaron Rodgers, Demovsky adds.

A $6.8MM Rodgers roster bonus could be converted to a signing bonus without the quarterback’s approval, creating $4.5MM in 2021 cap space. And the Packers could also move some of Rodgers’ 2021 base salary ($14.8MM) into a signing bonus to free up more room. This would, of course, complicate matters down the road. But the NFL’s post-2021 future is unlikely to include any further cap reductions, likely making present restructures easier to stomach for teams.

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Packers Likely To Restructure Aaron Rodgers’ Contract

The Packers cleared over $10MM of cap space by releasing Christian Kirksey and Rick Wagner several days ago. However, Green Bay is still about $13MM above the cap floor of $180MM, so there is plenty of work to do before the 2021 league year officially begins on March 17.

According to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, the Packers will almost certainly restructure quarterback Aaron Rodgers‘ contract in an effort to create additional cap room. The 37-year-old signal-caller is due a $14.7MM base salary in 2021, along with a $6.8MM roster bonus that will come due in March. Green Bay could convert some of that base salary into a signing bonus, a common maneuver that the club already executed with left tackle David Bakhtiari.

Of course, Rodgers said shortly after the Packers’ NFC Championship Game defeat in January that his future with the Packers was “uncertain,” which naturally led to plenty of speculation. Some reports suggested that his comments were an effort to secure a new contract that would represent a strong commitment from the franchise, whose selection of Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 draft clearly irked Rodgers. And another report indicated that the comments — which Rodgers later tried to downplay — were not contractually-motivated and that player and team were headed for a bitter divorce.

Meanwhile, Packers brass has insisted that Rodgers is not going anywhere, and Demovsky says the club certainly could undertake a more comprehensive restructuring of Rodgers’ contract beyond a simple base salary-to-bonus conversion. Green Bay selected Love on the heels of three consecutive “down” years from Rodgers (by his standards), but in 2020, Rodgers was nothing short of sensational. He set career highs in completion percentage (70.7%), QBR (84.4), and TD passes (48), so it makes sense that the team would be amenable to a new contract that gives its superstar additional security (financially and otherwise).

Demovsky also names OLB Preston Smith and DE Dean Lowry as potential cap casualties.

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Packers HC: Aaron Rodgers Staying “For A Long Time”

On Monday, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur was asked about Aaron Rodgers‘ status with the team. LaFleur did not hesitate or stutter as he addressed the team’s top offseason storyline.

[RELATED: Rodgers Says Future Is “Uncertain”]

Is that a trick question?,” LaFleur said (Twitter link via Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette). “Absolutely. There’s no doubt about it. You’re talking about the guy who’s going to win the MVP of the league. We’re not in this position without him.”

After the Packers’ devastating loss in the NFC title game, Rodgers told reporters that his future is “uncertain.” The quarterback has downplayed his comments since then, though talk persists of Rodgers’ unhappiness in Green Bay and, potentially, his desire for a new deal. Currently, Rodgers ranks just fifth among quarterbacks in average annual salary, behind Patrick Mahomes ($45MM), Deshaun Watson($39MM), Russell Wilson ($35MM), and Ben Roethlisberger ($34MM). It’s fair to say that he’s due for a raise after turning in an absolutely stellar season.

A new contract may help but, ultimately, Rodgers seems to be searching for a stronger commitment from the Packers as Jordan Love waits in the wings. Things haven’t been great between Rodgers and LaFleur, but the head coach’s latest comments may help smooth things out.

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Rams Made Push For Aaron Rodgers Trade

Prior to prying Matthew Stafford from the Lions for a considerable haul of draft picks, the Rams are believed to have attempted to acquire a higher-profile NFC North quarterback.

The trade-happy franchise “made a run” at landing Aaron Rodgers, Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times said during an NFL Network appearance (video link). The Packers, however, insisted they do not plan to trade their future Hall of Fame passer. It is not clear if any offer emerged for Rodgers.

Rodgers’ comments after Green Bay’s NFC championship game loss opened the door to immediate speculation regarding his future, and the decorated quarterback said during the 2020 offseason that finishing his career elsewhere may be the realistic scenario due to the Packers trading up for Jordan Love. Many around the league believe he wants out of Green Bay.

The Rams have not been shy about pulling the trigger on blockbuster trades under GM Les Snead. This one would have ventured to a different level, given Rodgers’ accomplishments and recent level of play. Rodgers is under contract through the 2023 season, though the 37-year-old superstar may now want another new deal.

Stafford will provide Sean McVay with a considerable upgrade in QB talent and will head to Los Angeles for his age-33 season. While Rodgers will turn 38 near the end of next season, he has said he would like to play well into his 40s and showed this past season he remains in elite form. That form was on display in both playoff games, including an efficient divisional-round performance against the Rams. But the Packers, who said earlier this week they were “not idiots” and will be holding onto their franchise quarterback, would be left with only Love as a viable starter on their roster were they to trade Rodgers. It is not clear yet if Love would qualify as such in 2021; he did not take a snap this season.

The Rodgers-Green Bay saga clearly is not over, especially with Love on the roster, but the team was not ready to deal with the Rams — a team that does not hold a 2021 first-round pick.

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Coaches, Execs Believe Aaron Rodgers Wants Out Of Green Bay

No matter how hard Aaron Rodgers tries to downplay his comments at his post-NFC Championship Game press conference, it’s clear the speculation isn’t going away anytime soon. Rodgers, of course, raised plenty of eyebrows by saying his future was “uncertain” after the Packers’ heartbreaking loss to the Buccaneers.

Green Bay has gone into damage control mode, with team CEO Mark Murphy declaring emphatically that Rodgers would be back in 2021, and that “we’re not idiots.” But despite all that, coaches and execs around the league remain “convinced a bitter divorce is pending” between the two sides, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes. La Canfora reports that head coaches and GMs told him this, which would obviously be interesting to say the least.

La Canfora’s sources contend there is tension between Rodgers and head coach Matt LaFleur, with one NFL head coach saying “it’s never really been good between him and the coach. It’s been a long feeling-out process, and it looks like it’s over.” If true, it’s a pretty remarkable turn of events considering Rodgers is coming off a season that will see him named league MVP shortly.

One assistant coach said Rodgers’ unhappiness is “the worst kept secret in football” and that he was “sending a signal to the rest of the league” with his comments. One long-time NFL exec says “trust me. The quarterback wants out.” Rodgers’ contract runs through the 2023 season, but La Canfora speculates he could force a trade by threatening to retire if one isn’t granted.

The Packers, if you’ll recall, brought a lot of this drama upon themselves by drafting Jordan Love in the first-round last April. As the Eagles learned the hard way after drafting Jalen Hurts in the second-round, it’s nearly impossible to avoid controversy when drafting a quarterback high with one already on the roster.

The Love pick clearly stung Rodgers at the time, and he responded with by far his best season in years. It’s likely the Packers weren’t expecting that kind of late-career resurgence when drafting Love. It’s rare for there to be this much talk about blowing things up on a team that is coming off back to back NFC Championship Game appearances, but here we are.

Buckle up, because this surely isn’t the last we’ve heard on this situation as we enter a wild offseason where seemingly everything is up in the air.

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Packers’ Aaron Rodgers Downplays Comments

Maybe Aaron Rodgers got caught up in the moment. In an interview on Tuesday, the Packers quarterback downplayed the significance of his post-NFC title game comments.

[RELATED: Rodgers Wants New Contract]

I don’t think that there’s any reason that I wouldn’t be back. But there’s not many absolutes in this business,” Rodgers told Pat McAfee (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). “It’s a slow week.”

After a devastating loss to the Bucs, Rodgers said that his future is “uncertain,” indicating that the 37-year-old might not be with the Packers in 2021. Now, Packers fans can calm down, at least a little bit. The expected 2020 MVP anticipates staying put in Green Bay to pursue yet another Super Bowl ring.

We’re not idiots,” said Packers CEO Mark Murphy earlier in the day. “Aaron Rodgers will be back, he’s our leader.”

Bringing Rodgers back could require a new contract, one that would put him in the same tier as Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, Russell Wilson, and Ben Roethlisberger. As it stands, Rodgers is earning roughly as much as Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who could potentially lose his starting job in 2021.

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