When last we heard anything meaningful on the Aaron Rodgers trade rumor front, NFL Network‘s James Palmer reported that the Denver Broncos are a “legitimate landing spot” for the NFL’s reigning MVP. Between then and now, there was the PR tentpole of the NFL releasing its 2021 regular-season schedule for all 32 teams, which, for the first time ever, will include 17 games.
Lost in the din of the schedule release were comments by a couple of Rodgers’ long-time Green Bay Packers teammates — former wideout James Jones and fullback John Kuhn. Kuhn recently appeared on NFL Network and revealed his optimism that the Rodgers-Packers feud is fixable.
“I’m sure contract is part of that,” Kuhn said. “I’m sure that years guaranteed is a part of that. Not just being a highest-paid quarterback or the highest paid at your position. But I believe the security going forward is a part of that, and I also believe being on the same page as having open communication where all sides feel like they are being heard. Aaron and I are friends. We spent a decade of our lives together in the same meeting rooms, on the same practice field. So we do talk. And quite frankly this is something that I believe is fixable.”
We’ve known for some time that one of Rodgers’ gripes with Green Bay is the lack of long-term financial commitment to him as a nine-time Pro Bowler. NFL insider Ian Rapoport joined the Pat McAfee Show and reported that Rodgers wants a long-term deal with enough guaranteed money to render 2020 first-round QB Jordan Love a non-threat.
“To me, it’s not about the overall yearly averages,” Rapoport said. “It’s about, from what I understand, security and him knowing that he is the Packers’ starter going forward, guaranteed contractually.”
As it stands, Rodgers’ contract has him set to earn $14.7 million in salary, with an additional $8.15M in various roster bonuses, not counting the prorated signing bonus that balloons his actual salary-cap number to a whopping $37.2M for 2021. After agreeing to a four-year, $134M extension back in 2018, the NFL’s reigning MVP currently ranks No. 6 in the league among QBs with an average per year of $33.5M.
Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes still perches atop the QB market with a staggering $45M APY contract, so the Packers have some ground to cover if Rodgers is looking to be the highest-paid signal-caller in the game. Kuhn doesn’t think it’s about being the highest-paid QB but rather, a monetary commitment signaling that Rodgers is The Guy now and moving forward.
This conflicts with some of the other reporting and rumors articulating Rodgers’ discontent with Green Bay, including being left out of the team’s GM hiring search two years ago, the Love pick in the first round last year, and an overall bad vibe with general manager Brian Gutekunst. If that laundry list of beefs is the heart of Rodgers’ disgruntled state, no contract will likely ameliorate him because the veteran QB knows he could command that kind of contractual security by whichever team were to land him via trade.
What it Means for Broncos
As for the Broncos, the latest reports don’t really change much. Broncos’ GM George Paton remains focused on moving forward into the summer with Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater under center, set to duel for the starting gig when training camp rolls around.
Paton has been “monitoring” the situation as it unfolds in Green Bay and that will continue until there’s a resolution. Remember, though, Rapoport is reporting that Green Bay has made “a significant offer” to Rodgers so this whole drama could evaporate in no time flat.
It feels like the parties involved here are beginning to use their media channels to walk back some of the antipathy and negativity that has been spewed in the public arena since NFL draft day back on April 29. This went from media people reporting a “60/40” chance Rodgers will get dealt to the actual oddsmakers giving Green Bay a minus-175 odds of him remaining a Packer.
If Rodgers gets dealt, the Broncos remain in the lead among all potential suitors with +125 odds to land him. The Las Vegas Raiders are the next-likeliest landing spot with +1000 odds of winning the Rodgers sweepstakes.
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