So far this offseason, the Green Bay Packers have made one big splash by re-signing Aaron Jones to an extension to keep him in the green and gold. Outside of that, they have been bystanders, watching free agents fly off the board left and right. Of course, an overriding factor is that the Packers are up against it with the salary cap. It was surprising to many that they were able to find enough room to bring back Jones. The details of his contract have since been released, and it makes you wonder, what is the Packers’ plan?
If they wanted to create one big chunk of space, they could restructure Aaron Rodgers‘ contract. However, doing so would almost assure Rodgers stays in Green Bay for the long haul while also putting into doubt any chance for Jordan Love to take over in the near future. The Packers have restructured David Bakhtiari, Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, and Adrian Amos to free up space. But nothing with Rodgers yet.
Then there’s Jones’s contract. Reported as a four-year deal, the early perception was that he would be around for the long run, which still may be the case. But reporters later revealed that he will get a large chunk of change in 2021, including a $13 million signing bonus. After that? The Packers have team options for the next three years. While fans had long begged for them to find a way to bring Jones back, it made their decision to draft A.J. Dillon in the second round last year a tad perplexing. Do the team options that have come to light mean that the Packers going all-in next year?
As things currently stand, they could trade Rodgers after this season and not be on the hook for nearly the amount they would be if they opted to restructure his current contract. We know now that they have team control over Jones. Sincerely, my goal here is not to be provocative. I’m just trying to figure out what the hell the Packers are doing.
The amount of shifting that could happen from 2021 to 2022 is staggering. It could be the same one-two punch with Rodgers and Jones. It’s also not far-fetched to think that it could be Love and Dillon two years from now.
Maybe there’s a larger plan in place. The Packers and Rodgers could be talking restructure for all we know and it’s just been kept quiet. But usually something like that would get leaked.
Best guess: Green Bay is hesitant to restructure Rodgers and wanted the team options in Jones’ contract because they want to keep all avenues open going forward. On top of that, this front office might see next year as the last chance for a title push for the core that’s been in place for a while now. The problem is that these two philosophies can contradict one another.
The Packers’ brain trust seems to want the best of both worlds. Go all-in and make a push for a championship in 2021 but also keep options open and plan for the future. Maybe it’s conceivable that this is achievable, but it seems to be Green Bay trying to stretch things awfully thin with the hope that everything stays together.
There’s plenty of offseason left. The Packers can still restructure Rodgers, give Davante Adams an extension, or find other ways to create room to bring in a couple more pieces. Or they can stand pat and keep everyone guessing, including the players on the team. It’s a tough balance, and the only way to know more is to stay patient and see what happens as the days and weeks drag on during this offseason.
Let’s hope there is a concrete plan in the works, something similar to what the Chicago Bears are doing. Or, wait….
If you’re a Packers fan and you feel like panicking, and you’re feeling on edge because of what has or hasn’t happened this offseason, remember that it could always be worse. At least you don’t root for the Bears.