Within a matter of weeks, Aaron Rodgers has gone from the Green Bay Packers’ franchise player to their biggest problem. Seemingly out of nowhere, news broke that the quarterback doesn’t want to return to Wisconsin. The drama, however, only started there.
While the situation still hasn’t been resolved, the Packers understandably find themselves in a tough situation. In addition to potentially ruining their Super Bowl hopes, Rodgers could also force the club to spend millions in extra money to keep their offense afloat.
Aaron Rodgers has blown up the Green Bay Packers offseason
Ever since he replaced Brett Favre, Rodgers has been a key part of the Packers’ success. The 2021 NFL season, however, could represent a major turning point for both the quarterback and the franchise.
In the days surrounding the NFL draft, word broke that Rodgers had become disillusioned with the Packers and didn’t want to return to Green Bay. While we’re still dealing with reports and conjecture, it seems like the quarterback feels disrespected by the team. It’s not clear whether that stems from drafting Jordan Love, cutting Jake Kumerow, or something else, but there’s clearly a long-simmering issue that has finally bubbled over.
Although both sides are more or less in a holding pattern, it’s safe to assume that Rodgers’ stance has forced some frantic discussions in Green Bay. While every player will eventually move on, replacing a franchise quarterback on the fly is a no-win situation. Regardless of what the Packers’ plan for the 2021 offseason was, sorting out Rodgers’ future has to be the new priority.
Keeping Davante Adams could become an extra pricy proposition without Aaron Rodgers
As mentioned above, figuring out Rodgers’ future is the Packers’ top priority. That doesn’t mean it’s the only challenge on their plate, though.
Receiver Davante Adams is currently in the final year of his contract. While his performance would already mean that the Packers have to pay a pretty penny to retain his services, the prospect of life without Rodgers could add a few more million to the asking price.
As spelled out by Joel Corry of CBS Sports, Adams said that “[the Rodgers situation] doesn’t mean potentially I’d be gone, but I’d definitely have to do some extra thinking if my guy wasn’t here,” during a radio interview. As a former agent, Corry believes that “extra thinking” will eventually manifest itself as extra money added onto his next contract.
That, however, is where things get complicated. While NFL contracts can be pretty flexible — just look at how the Kansas City Chiefs have navigated their way around the salary cap — the Packers will be facing a cap crunch come 2022. Based on Corry’s estimations, Green Bay would be around $40 million over the limit, even without Adams’ potential franchise tag. Although some of that would be recouped by cutting or otherwise moving Rodgers, it’s still less than ideal to be pinching pennies to make your roster work for the coming season.
As noted above, even franchise tagging Adams would be tough; if anything, the Packers need a hometown discount or a favorably structured contract, not extra money tacked onto the deal.
Either way, the Green Bay Packers have a big few months ahead of them
At this point, though, the 2022 salary cap can’t be at the top of the Green Bay Packers’ collective mind. Like it or not, the club has to decide how to handle Rodgers and follow through on that plan.
As it stands, the Packers really have two main choices: they can trade Rodgers or refuse to budge and call the quarterback’s bluff. Neither strategy, however, comes without risks.
If the team trades Rogers, they’ll be taking a step back in the short term; no matter how you feel about his recent behavior, the quarterback is the reigning NFL MVP, and Jordan Love is an unproven sophomore. On the other side of the coin, though, keeping Rodgers could easily backfire. Even if he doesn’t take the nuclear option and retire, he could become a locker room cancer and prove to be more trouble than he’s worth.
Either way, the Packers are caught between a rock and a hard place. No matter which way they chose to handle the Rodgers situation, though, the problems are only beginning.