Did The Green Bay Packers Just Make Aaron Rodgers A Lame Duck Quarterback

The Green Bay Packers restructured six contracts, released two fringe starters and watched Pro Bowl center Corey Linsley leave in free agency so they could get to the NFL’s salary cap of $182.5 million by Wednesday afternoon. Amidst all that wheeling and dealing, Green Bay didn’t gain one cent of salary cap relief from its highest-paid employee — quarterback Aaron Rodgers. This certainly enhances the odds that Rodgers will be playing his final year in Green Bay in 2021.“They could have freed up a lot of money by extending him,” one NFL executive texted me Wednesday afternoon. “Either they didn’t want to go down that road or he turned them down.”Rodgers signed a four-year, $134 million contract extension in Aug., 2018 that runs through the 2023 season. This season, Rodgers will count $37,572,000 against the cap (20.18%). By not extending Rodgers now — and lowering his cap number this year — the Packers have kept open the real possibility of moving on from their Hall of Fame quarterback after the 2021 campaign. Green Bay’s cap hit would be $17,204,000 if they dumped Rodgers before the 2022 season and $2,852,000 before 2023. Considering the salary cap is expected to take a substantial jump next year, the Packers could certainly withstand those cap hits. If the Packers cut ties with Rodgers, they will likely turn things over to 2020 first round draft pick Jordan Love. After the Packers drafted Love in 2020, Rodgers seemed resigned to the fact he’d likely finish his career elsewhere.“I think it was more the surprise of the pick based on my own feelings of wanting to play into my 40s and really the realization that it does change the controllables a little bit because as much as I feel confident in my abilities and what I can accomplish and what we can accomplish, there are some new factors that are out of my control,” Rodgers said last May. “And so my sincere desire to start and finish with the same organization, um, just as it has with many other players over the years, may not be a reality at this point.“And as much as I understand the organization’s future outlook and wanting to make sure they’re thinking about the team now and down the line, and I respect that, at the same time, I still believe in myself and have a strong desire to play into my 40s and I’m just not sure how that all works together at this point.”Rodgers had arguably the best season of his career in 2020 and won his third career MVP. Green Bay lost to Tampa Bay in the NFC Championship Game, though, 31-26, as Rodgers fell to 1-4 in conference title games. With the Packers in salary cap hell, many thought Green Bay would extend Rodgers’ deal and make a longer commitment to him. Instead, the Packers picked up salary cap relief from left tackle David Bakhtiari ($8.3M), outside linebackers Za’Darius Smith ($7.38M) and Preston Smith ($7.25M), right tackle Billy Turner ($3.56M)), safety Adrian Amos ($750,000) and wide receiver Devin Funchess ($750,000).

All data is taken from the source: http://forbes.com
Article Link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/robreischel/2021/03/17/did-the-green-bay-packers-just-make-aaron-rodgers-a-lame-duck-quarterback/

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