Green Bay Packers

What An Aaron Rodgers Extension Would Look Like

Photo Credit: Raj Mehta (USA TODAY Sports)

Aaron Rodgers still hasn’t announced what he will do with his future. Three options remain on the table: He can return to the Green Bay Packers, retire, or ask for a trade. Nevertheless, according to NFL Network, Packers management and Rodgers’ representation are already negotiating a potential deal in case the quarterback decides to keep playing for the team he has represented since 2005.

According to Ian Rapoport, if a new deal is signed, it will be a short-term extension, with possible void years to diminish the 2022 cap hit. Rodgers has one year left in his current contract. The new deal could add one or two years, which would keep Rodgers in Green Bay until 2023 or 2024.

Numbers of his current contract

No matter what happens, the Packers will have some Rodgers cap hit in their spreadsheet for 2022. The team paid a signing bonus and a restructure bonus in the past, but the money hasn’t hit the cap yet. The numbers are $19.1 for 2022 and $7.6 million in 2023.

Those numbers stay prorated if Rodgers stays in Green Bay. If the Packers trade him, everything accelerates and hits the 2022 cap ($26.8 million). In the case Rodgers retires, the cap hit depends on the approach Green Bay will have.

They can choose to put him on the reserve/retired list immediately, which would accelerate his entire cap hit into 2022. Or they can negotiate with him to lower his base salary, which wouldn’t be paid anyway, and then move him to the reserve/retired list only after June 1. In this scenario, the dead money would still be prorated.

New deal

If Rodgers decides to stay, the Packers will have the cap hit mentioned above, plus the current 2022 $26.9 million base salary. But the base can be pushed to future years. The new deal would include something between $45 million and $50 million per year, and most of it would be paid in the form of signing bonus to spread the cap hit.

One-year extension

Previous base salary + roster bonus:
2022: $26.97 million (this money can be pushed for future years)

Previous prorated money:
2022: $19.173 million
2023: $7.673 million

Extension:

1-year, $50 million (fully guaranteed), $45 million signing bonus plus three void years
$25.87 million pushed from the previous 2022 money will be spread in future years

Year-by-year details

2022
Base salary: $1.1 million
Previous signing bonus: $19.173 million
New signing bonus: $9 million
Cap hit: $29.273 million (cap savings: $17.391 million)

2023
Base salary: $10 million ($5 million guaranteed)
Roster bonus: $20.87 million (this money can be turned into signing bonus and prorated again if he stays in 2023)
Previous signing bonus: $7.673 million
New signing bonus: $9 million
Cap hit: $47.543 million

2024
Dead money: $27 million

Two-year extension

2 years, $96 million ($48 million per year), $45 million signing bonus plus two void years
$25.87 million pushed from the previous 2022 money will be spread in future years

Year by year details

2022
Base salary: $1.1 million
Previous signing bonus: $19.173 million
New signing bonus: $9 million
Cap hit: $29.273 million

2023
Base salary: $14.87 million
Roster bonus: $20 million (this money can be turned into signing bonus and prorated again if he stays in 2023)
Previous signing bonus: $7.673 million
New signing bonus: $9 million
Cap hit: $51.543 million

2024
Base salary: $32 million
Roster bonus: $10 million
New signing bonus: $9 million
Cap hit: $51 million

2025
Dead money: $18 million

Which one is the better path?

At this stage of his career, Aaron Rodgers is a year-to-year proposition anyway. So, although a two-year extension would be intelligent to spread the money, a one-year extension probably is the smartest way to approach the new reality. It’s going to generate a massive amount of dead money when he retires, but that will happen regardless. Therefore, a shorter deal allows the Packers to commit less cash and make the new structure around the old one, which would give financial flexibility to build a strong roster around Rodgers.

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