NFL

When Can the Packers Realistically Cut Aaron Rodgers?

Since the Green Bay Packers decided to move up in the first round of this year’s draft to take former Utah State quarterback Jordan Love, there has been constant chatter around Aaron Rodgers‘ future with the franchise. That has seemingly put the writing on the wall with the team moving forward with grooming Love to be Rodgers’ eventual successor in Green Bay. It has also raised the question about when the Packers could reasonably move on from their star quarterback with that long-term plan in place.

Aaron Rodgers’ shaky long-term future with Packers

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The Packers have entirely shifted the conversation around the organization with their first-round draft choice in this year’s draft.

Rodgers is still firmly in the position to hold the starting job with the Packers for the foreseeable future, but the Love’s presence now puts a ticking clock on how much longer that the 36-year-old will be with the franchise.

The two-time league MVP has stayed firm with his desire to play well into his 40s while he voiced that he understood why the Packers went that direction. There isn’t any certainty about when or if Rodgers’ play will decline notably, but Green Bay has put themselves in the position move forward with another young quarterback to take the reins.

All of that now pushes the discussion toward when that will realistically offer for the Packers.

When the Packers could reasonably move on from Aaron Rodgers

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The crux of this chatter centers on Rodgers’ current contract situation as he’s locked in a long-term deal with Green Bay.

He is currently in the first year of his massive four-year, $134 million extension that runs through the 2023 season. There are some interesting details about the dead-cap hit over the last two seasons of that contract after the 2021 campaign.

The team will have a much lighter financial commitment to Rodgers over those years as he’s a $17.2 million cap hit in 2021 and $2.8 million in 2022. That is a significant drop from the $51.1 million cap hit this upcoming season and $31.1 million next year.

It paints the picture that the Packers could be moving off Rodgers in as early as two-year’s time as the financial burden becomes significantly less. All of that will depend on the team’s confidence in Love’s ability by that point, but it gives him two years to learn the ropes and develop behind one of the league’s best quarterbacks.

What Aaron Rodgers’ options could be

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More anything else, it means that Rodgers will have to move on from the Packers and play for another franchise.

He may be nearing his 40s, but he will have teams lining up for his services when that time comes in Green Bay. Franchises such as the San Francisco 49ers and Las Vegas Raiders could be prominently in the picture to acquire his services. Both franchises could reasonably free up cap space and move on from their respective starting quarterbacks after the 2021 season without much financial commitment.

Rodgers will get his opportunity to play into his 40s; it will be a matter of him choosing what situation will provide him the best chance to compete for the Super Bowl. Each of these teams could be in the position to offer him just that when he becomes available.

It’s a harsh reality that he has to face, but the NFL, like any other professional sports league, operates as a business first, and the Packers have put in place the first steps toward moving on from him.