Aaron Rodgers Makes Final Decision on Future With Packers

Aaron Rodgers Extension

Getty Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers looks on before the game against the Cleveland Browns at Lambeau Field on December 25, 2021 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Aaron Rodgers is officially staying with the Green Bay Packers for the foreseeable future and will become the NFL’s new highest-paid player in the process.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Packers and the back-to-back NFL MVP have agreed to terms on a four-year, $200 million deal that comes with $153 million guaranteed and reduces his previous cap hit of more than $46 million. The average annual value of his new deal also exceeded that of Patrick Mahomes’ megadeal with the Kansas City Chiefs, worth $45 million per year.

The news of Rodgers’ extension was first reported by Pat McAfee, who said Rodgers called him on Tuesday morning to let him know that he was returning to Green Bay. McAfee added that “retirement was a real consideration” for Rodgers throughout the process.

Rodgers had spent the past several weeks carefully weighing his options for his future, essentially deciding between returning to the Packers on a new deal or moving on — either by requesting a trade or retiring from the league. Now that the Packers know their most important piece will be back for 2022, they can properly begin building their next roster with the start of free agency only about a week away.

Reports of Rodgers’ new extension also come just several hours before the NFL deadline for teams to franchise or transition tag players. It has been expected the Packers would use the franchise tag on All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams to retain him for the 2022 season — a move that has still not happened — but confirmation that Rodgers will be back for years to come could go a long way in helping both sides work out a long-term extension in the next few months.

It is unknown exactly how much the Packers saved in cap space with Rodgers’ new contract since the details of the deal are not yet available. Prior to the extension, the Packers were about $26.6 million over the cap for the 2022 season and would add another $20.12 million if they did indeed franchise tag Adams. They will need to get under that number before the new league year begins at 4 p.m. ET on March 16.

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First Domino Has Fallen for Packers

One way or another, Rodgers was always going to be the first domino that had to fall this offseason for the Packers. His exorbitant cap charge needed correction before the team could feel comfortable proceeding with any of their other plans, and negotiations with their current players likely depended — at least to some degree — on whether the league’s back-to-back MVP would be returning to lead the team.

Now, with clarity at the quarterback position, the rest of the work can begin … and it won’t be all sunshine and rainbows for notable members of last year’s roster.

The Packers’ primary objective over the next week will be reducing their cap space to get in line with the league’s requirements. While it isn’t yet known how much Rodgers’ extension will help them out, it alone won’t be enough to get them in the black. It is possible the rest could come in the form of other extensions — Davante Adams and Jaire Alexander (fifth-year option in 2022) being the top candidates — but there will also be expensive veterans on the chopping block as cap casualties.

Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith are both standing on uneasy ground at the moment. The Packers could save money by parting ways with either or both of the pass rushers they acquired during 2019 free agency, and Rashan Gary’s ascendance in 2021 gives them plenty of reason to consider dropping at least one for savings.

Cutting Za’Darius before the start of the new league year would save the Packers about $15.28 million, while cutting Preston would save roughly $12.47 million. After the bounce-back season that Preston had in 2021, though, it might be more appropriate to consider him another extension candidate. The Packers could add, say, two more years to his current deal along with void years and significantly lower his 2022 cap charge, all while solidifying the spot opposite Gary for next season.

Other potential cap casualties for the Packers include: Mason Crosby ($2.395 million in cap savings if released), Marcedes Lewis ($2.445 million), Billy Turner ($3.359 million), Dean Lowry ($4.084 million), Adrian Amos ($4.654 million), Randall Cobb ($6.748 million) and Ty Summers ($965,000). Of course, extensions, restructures and pay cuts are also possible for most of those names on the list, too.

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Willard Mc Lean
Willard Mc Lean
3 months ago

This is great news as long as we don’t lose again in the NFL championship game!!

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