The Green Bay Packers and New York Jets appear to be on the verge of getting a deal done for Aaron Rodgers, but the money is the biggest roadblock at the moment, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
The money that Fowler is referring to is the massive $59.5 million in guaranteed salary that Rodgers is due in 2023. My guess is that the Jets want the Packers to take on a portion of that – how much remains to be seen – and Green Bay wants to be on the hook for as little or none of those dollars. Fowler even added that the Packers haven’t been very flexible with the money aspect of this.
For the Packers, every dollar of that guaranteed money that they pay only adds to Rodgers’ already massive dead cap hit. With Rodgers on the team, his cap hit is $31.6 million. By trading Rodgers prior to June 1st, his dead cap hit jumps to $40.3 million, taking Green Bay’s available cap space from $16.5 million down to roughly $8 million.
As Ken Ingalls, who independently tracks the Packers’ salary cap situation, told me, if the Packers have to pay a portion of that $59.5 million, they would do so by converting those dollars to a signing bonus, and it would hit the 2023 salary cap dollar for dollar. Meaning if Green Bay agrees to take on $10 million, Rodgers’ dead cap hit will increase by $10 million. A difficult spot to be in for a team with already little cap space.
The salary cap hit to acquire Rodgers is relatively small at $15.79 million–that’s not the issue. However, from the Jets’ perspective, potentially giving up premium draft capital while also having to pay $60 million for potentially just one year of Rodgers is a fairly hefty asking price as well–which is why these negotiations are still ongoing.
If the Packers were to take on some of Rodgers’ guaranteed salary, that could very well lead to better draft compensation in return. A number of recent articles from NFL insiders, including Albert Breer, Mike Garofolo, and Matt Verderame, suggest that a first-round pick might not even be in play for Green Bay. There has also been some conjecture about there being other players featured in this trade package.
A trade between the Packers and Jets feels inevitable at this point, but on when that news is broken remains to be seen. Both sides will want this to be concluded prior to free agency on March 15th and perhaps even before the legal tampering period begins on March 13th. However, with the magnitude of this deal, which includes Rodgers’ contract, there is a lot to figure out.