Tom Brady retiring doesn’t mean the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won’t swing for the fences to land another superstar quarterback.
The Bucs could pursue — and afford — trading for Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Pewter Report’s Adam Slivon explains. Tampa Bay has “nearly all their draft picks in 2023 and 2024” to work with in a trade package for Rodgers, and that package would likely include the first round pick this year plus “a first or second” next year, Slivon wrote.
NFL Analysis Network offers a similar suggestion with back-to-back first round picks and “a conditional second-round pick in 2025 that will convert to a first-rounder” depending on results. A conditional pick addition would put the Bucs “over the edge” with competing teams for Rodgers, NFL Analysis Network’s Kenneth Teape wrote.
As for managing the latest year in Rodgers’ $150 million deal, per Spotrac, with the Packers, the Bucs would have to get creative amid a dire salary cap situation of $55.7 million over the cap, per Spotrac. Pewter Report’s salary cap expert, Joshua Queipo, broke down how that would work.
The Bucs “would have to exercise an option bonus that is currently tied to Rodgers’ 2023 salary”, Queipo wrote. Tampa Bay “would convert $58.3 million of his $59.515 million salary into a prorated bonus that is currently spread out over four years,” Queipo added. That would knock down the Bucs’ cap hit to $15.7 million, Queipo noted.
Of course, the Bucs will need to make cuts clear enough of that $55.7 million to make room for Rodgers, but the Bucs could do it and keep much of the nucleus in place. Queipo suggests that the Bucs cut Cameron Brate, Leonard Fournette, and “possibly” Donovan Smith to clear $18.7 million in salary cap space. The Bucs could also restructure contracts for Chris Godwin, Carlton Davis III, and Vita Vea and “free up as much as $29.5 million”, Queipo wrote.
In addition, Brady’s retirement, once processed after June 1, will help the Bucs with just $11 million of his $35 million dead cap hit counting in 2023.
Rodgers Keeps Bucs in Contention
While the Bucs will need to make a host of moves and sacrifices to get Rodgers in pewter and red, it will extend the Super Bowl window as Silvon noted.
Rodgers led the Packers to three NFC Championship Games in the past six seasons, and he has a career record of 147-75-1 plus an 11-10 mark in the playoffs. Last season could get called a down year for Rodgers as the Packers missed the playoffs, but he had rookie receivers to work with instead of Davante Adams, who left in a trade to the Las Vegas Raiders.
Rodgers still produced on the field with 3,695 yards for 26 touchdowns versus 12 interceptions, and he completed 64.6% of his passes. He also has more mobility than Brady, which includes 94 yards rushing and a touchdown on 35 carries in 2022.
Bucs Could Land Packers Free Agents to Attract Rodgers
Similar to Brady, the Bucs could bring in some of Rodgers’ favorite targets to get the superstar quarterback on board as Silvon noted.
The Packers have notable offensive free agents in tight end Marcedes Lewis and wide receivers Randall Cobb and Allen Lazard. With Brady, the Bucs brought in Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown in 2020, which helped in a Super Bowl run.