Aaron Rodgers turned down a contract extension from the Packers this offseason. That news has been reported for months. But none of the reports have provided much meaningful information about the specifics of the Packers’ offer.
Adam Schefter of ESPN tweeted today, “This off-season, the Packers offered Aaron Rodgers a two-year contract extension that would have tied him to Green Bay for five more seasons and made him the highest-paid QB and player in football.”
But what does that really mean? Rodgers is currently under contract through 2023, and what he wants in any new deal is what he currently doesn’t have: Financial guarantees that end the year-to-year flexibility that the Packers enjoy with his current contract. The Packers can easily afford to cut Rodgers and move on to Jordan Love after the 2021 season, and Rodgers doesn’t like that. He wants a contract that makes it financially difficult or impossible for the Packers to move on.
If the Packers offered Rodgers $50 million non-guaranteed salaries in 2024 and 2025, that would be meaningless to Rodgers, even though it would technically qualify as a two-year extension that makes him the highest-paid player in the NFL, as Schefter’s report states.
The Packers’ longstanding practice has been to avoid significant guarantees beyond a player’s signing bonus. For the most part, that has served them well: Green Bay rarely finds itself in the uncomfortable salary cap position of having a past-his-prime player who’s still owed significant guaranteed money.
But Rodgers doesn’t want to be treated the way the Packers ordinarily treat players. He thinks he has earned a contract that breaks with the Packers’ past precedent and gives him real guarantees about his future. Whatever the Packers have offered Rodgers so far, it isn’t what he’s looking for.