Aaron Rodgers has promised to give the Green Bay Packers (and by extension, the New York Jets) a decision before the start of free agency. Now he has just hours left to deliver on that promise.
Although the NFL’s new league year does not begin until 4:00 PM Eastern on Wednesday, Monday brings the start of negotiations between teams and agents. The so-called “legal tampering” period kicks off at 12 Noon today, and it is at that time that teams begin making their initial overtures and contract offers to free agents-to-be across the league.
With no answer from Rodgers, the Packers and Jets remain in limbo as other teams gear up to get a head start on the market. For the Packers, the question is whether Rodgers will indeed accept a trade and increase his cap hit for 2023. That would give the Packers an extra $9 million in cap money charged for Rodgers for this season, but their books would be free and clear for 2024 and beyond.
The other option appears to be retirement, as the Packers seem to have made it clear that they are ready to start Jordan Love at quarterback. If Rodgers does call it quits, expect the paperwork to come after June 1st so that the Packers can spread out that $40 million cap hit over 2023 and 2024. In either case, Green Bay needs to know how much cap space to plan for in the next few seasons to understand how they can allocate it to potential incoming free agents.
The Jets of course have a different equation to consider, which includes parameters such as whether to consider free agent quarterbacks. Cap space is a concern as well, but the quarterback piece is certainly the biggest one.
For both teams, this decision really needs to happen before negotiations begin, even if teams are not able to formally sign players until Wednesday. After all, it’s difficult to impossible to negotiate when you don’t know what your negotiation position even is.
Will Rodgers deliver an announcement in time for the two teams to get free agency underway with all of the required information at their disposal? We will be waiting with bated breath, as he has about 3 and a half hours as of the time of publication of this piece.
As Rodgers himself said this weekend, “stay tuned.”
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