Where Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers plays his football next year is already one of the hottest topics in the NFL, and the offseason hasn’t even arrived yet.
The Packers remain the betting favorites to hold onto Rodgers, though that may be mostly because he is currently under contract with the team for more than $100 million over the next two years and trading said contract could prove tricky. That said, there are a handful of teams that might potentially be in the running for Rodgers should Green Bay move him ahead of 2023, including the New York Jets and the San Francisco 49ers.
The former will be arguably the most motivated to sign a big-name QB this offseason, while the latter would probably be Rodgers’ first choice if he had his pick. However, one NFL general manager to Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post on Monday, January 30, that he doesn’t think either franchise is going to land Rodgers, nor does he predict a 19th season in Green Bay for the four-time MVP. Instead, he sees the clearest path forward for Rodgers leading to the Las Vegas Raiders.
“If [Tom] Brady is in San Francisco, then I think Rodgers goes to Vegas. I don’t see him in New York with the Jets,” the anonymous GM told La Canfora. “This would reunite Rodgers with top receiver Davante Adams in an offense loaded with weapons. The Raiders want to make a splash, and they could put the franchise tag on Josh Jacobs, the NFL’s leading rusher, and focus on bolstering their defense. At this point, I doubt it would take more than a mid-round pick to get Rodgers.”
Aaron Rodgers’ Hefty Contract Pushes Down Trade Value For Packers
If the unnamed GM is correct and Rodgers can be had for a mid-round pick, it will almost certainly be because of the size of his contract and the kind of salary cap strain it would place on any team that chose to take it on.
Michael Ginnitti of Spotrac broke down the Rodgers’ trade scenarios and how they would impact both the Packers and their trade partner — in this case, the Raiders.
If Rodgers requests a trade, there are two options: Before June 1st, and after. The former has more cap pain, but the latter means no 2023 draft picks can be acquired.
Assuming Rodgers is moved early in the offseason, the Packers will take on a dead cap hit of $40,313,568, all in 2023, losing $8.69M of cap space this year. If the deal is struck after 6/1, (and assuming the option bonus hasn’t been exercised yet), Green Bay will take on a $15,833,568 dead cap hit in 2023, with another $24,480,000 slated for 2024. The Packers would save $15.79M in 2023 with this move, but not until June 2nd. All of these numbers also apply should Aaron Rodgers retire this offseason.
For those wondering, Rodgers would bring a $15.79M cap figure with him to a new team in 2023, then $32.5M, $51.1M, & $45.2M through 2026. If he were to retire after 2023, he’d leave behind a $43.725M dead cap hit in 2024.
Derek Carr Unlikely Inclusion in Any Rodgers Trade Between Packers, Raiders
Several projections have Rodgers garnering at least a first-round pick, with Peter King of NBC Sports suggesting Derek Carr and a third-rounder in a prospective Rodgers-to-Raiders trade back in November.
“I think it might not be altogether nonsensical to consider trading Rodgers to Las Vegas for Derek Carr and a third-round pick,” King wrote. “Might being the most important word there. Miles to go before you reach a decision like that, but it has crossed my mind.”
Carr, a three-time Pro Bowler with some gas left in the tank, is presumably worth a first-round pick of his own, though it seems an unlikely scenario that the Packers would want Carr back in any deal as trading Rodgers almost certainly means that Jordan Love gets the keys to the franchise in 2023.