On Tuesday, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers addressed his contract situation on The Pat McAfee Show. While he stated he was still on the fence about retiring and wouldn’t rule out the possibility of him playing for another team in 2023, he did make notable statements about his contract — which is set to pay him about $60 million in cash for the upcoming season.
When the $60 million figure was brought up by McAfee, Rodgers stated, “I don’t think there’s a scenario where I’d come back and that would be the number.” For those who are unaware, Rodgers will only carry a $31.6 million cap hit, if he returns to the Packers in 2023, because $58.3 million of that $59.5 million number will come in the form of an option bonus. Technically, his base salary will only be $1.17 million, while his bonus will be spread over multiple seasons on the cap rather than just counting against the 2023 cap.
His total 2023 salary cap number is $31.62M— Ken Ingalls - Packers Cap (@KenIngalls) January 24, 2023
Why the difference between the $15.79M (above) and this $31.62M you ask?
Well - his deal includes 3 past backloading situations from 2019, 2021, and 2022 counting for another $15.83M on the 2023 salary cap.
15.79M + $15.83M = $31.62M
Since that money would already be spread over multiple years, what adjustment is there to be made? Most of the analysts who focus on contracts and the salary cap previously thought of Rodgers’ deal as relatively “untouchable” due to the unique structure of his contract. Yet, the four-time NFL MVP stated, “definitely things would have to shift,” and, “there would have to be adjustments for sure,” with McAfee.
Is there a chance that Rodgers would approach general manager Brian Gutekunst with the idea to rip up the quarterback’s 2022 extension and start over with a new deal? Rodgers’ 2023 cap hit isn’t a problem as much as his future dead cap (prorated accounting for previous money paid) would be.
There are three options here:
- Rodgers doesn’t understand how his contract is structured and doesn’t realize that there’s really no way for him to drop his cap hit in 2023 without him accepting less cash this season.
- He’s willing to work on a new deal, which would almost certainly come with some guarantees on his side that he’d be the quarterback for the Packers for at least two or three more seasons.
- He gave us another, “Yeah, I’m immunized,” answer where McAfee brought up his salary and he deflected and answered the question as if it was about his cap hit.
What’s he really thinking? Who knows. This is the first time that he’s voiced any concern about the structure of his 2023 deal. For what it’s worth, Gutekunst at both the end of the year press conference and the bye week press conference, the two pressers he’s had since final cuts, claimed that the Packers didn’t hand him that extension in 2022 for a one-year commitment.