It’s become a given, given the decision to draft quarterback Jordan Love and to not draft any receivers, that Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers may have only two years left with the team. What if it’s only one year?
The salary cap consequences seem to prevent a divorce through 2021, since the cap hit after this year would become $31.556 million ($23 million from his original signing bonus, plus $8.556 million from the partial conversion of a 2019 roster bonus). But here’s the thing: Keeping Rodgers in 2021 will result in a $36.352 million cap charge. Thus, the Packers would actually create $4.796 million in cap space — and save $22 million in cash — by trading Rodgers before a $6.8 million roster bonus becomes due on the third day of the 2021 league year.
With Love operating under a wage-scale deal, it will be easy to justify eating $31.556 million in cap space when the number would be higher to keep Rodgers, and when he likely wouldn’t be willing to agree to another restructuring that would kick the cap can down the road.
The Packers also could probably get more in trade for Rodgers at 37 than at 38, and a trade would avoid what would/could/will be a second year of awkwardness at best, acrimony at worst as Rodgers becomes the odd man out in Green Bay.
So forget about two years. This year could be the last year for the Packers and Rodgers, massive cap charge be damned.