Again, that’s possibly precisely what the Packers want. They knew how to get Brett Favre to retire in 2008 (i.e., ask him for a firm decision in February, when they knew he’d be inclined to walk away), and they know (or at least believe they know) how to get Rodgers to be the one to ask for a divorce.
The team watched first-hand how to get a franchise QB to leave and Rodgers could follow the Brett Farve trajectory, leaving the Packers within years of them drafting a young signal-caller.
“Let me tell y’all something right now: Look out!” Packers LT David Bakhtiari said during the NFL’s Draft-A-Thon live stream. “Aaron is about to be on fire.”
Rodger is under contract through 2023, though the guaranteed portion of the contract only runs through 2022.
If he’s still on the Packers roster during the 2021 season, his cap hit will count for $36 million (up from $21 million in 2020). If he’s still on the roster come the 2022 campaign, he’ll count for $39.8 million against the cap.
Normally, when cap hits get this high, teams renegotiate the deals and tack on extra years to lower the average annual value. However, it doesn’t appear that Rodgers, who is 36-years-old, is going to sign another deal with the Packers after they drafted Love.
Green Bay will have some time to evaluate Jordan Love but from a cap perspective, a trade makes sense after the 2020 season. By then, GB should have a better understanding of whether Love is the guy they want to pass the torch to.
Let’s take a look at some fits for Rodgers should Green Bay trade him at that time:
While the team has spoken to Deshaun Watson about a contract extension, the QB remains without a long-term deal. The former Clemson Tiger has just one-year left on his contract and if he decides he wants to play elsewhere, Houston would be a great plug-and-play spot for Rodgers.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams present a nice landing spot for Rodgers, who is from California. However, Los Angeles would need to do some masterful cap gymnastics to get out of Jared Goff’s deal, as they just restructured his contract. Not having a 2021 first-round pick is another deterrent (LA traded their 2021 selection to JAX for Jalen Ramsey). Still, the fit makes a lot of sense if they can work around those major issues.
The Redskins don’t have a long-term answer at QB, despite whatever optimism is out there on Dwyane Haskins. The Ohio State product basically has 2020 to prove he can be the guy and many expect that he’ll fail in that pursuit.
Washington will have the cap flexibility to make a massive move next offseason, which could include adding Rodgers and another piece. They just drafted two explosive wide receivers, and even though the Skins traded Trent Williams, they still have a strong offensive line.
New England Patriots
The Patriots do not have a promising long-term or short-term quarterback option on the roster. Former fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham could do his best Tom Brady impression (on the field, not off of it where he is being investigated by the league yet again for breaking NFL rules).
More likely, the Pats will enter the 2021 offseason with a major need at QB. They could go to the draft to select an option. Perhaps 68-year-old Bill Belichick would like to groom someone he can coach into his late 70’s. However, bringing in someone who can give 3-5 years of top QB play could be the best option for the franchise.
Will Aaron Rodgers shift over to the AFC? While there is strong competition for the conference title with teams like Baltimore and Kansas City, there isn’t a long list of AFC teams that are perennial locks to make the playoffs. It’s certainly an easier path than in the crowded NFC. Wherever Rodgers lands, he’d hope to be in a spot where obtaining his second Super Bowl ring is on the menu.
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