On Tuesday morning, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that the Packers previously offered to make quarterback Aaron Rodgers the highest-paid player in NFL history, and that Rodgers declined. By Tuesday evening, multiple ESPN analysts had questioned the report, sort of.
Sarah Spain of ESPN made it clear (as we did) that there’s nothing new about this supposed news. “We heard about the Packers offering Rodgers a 2-year extension that would make him the highest paid man in [football] months ago,” Spain tweeted.
Later, Tony Kornheiser of ESPN violated the cardinal rule of #Scooptown. During Pardon The Interruption, Kornheiser openly speculated about Schefter’s source.
“I think it’s leaked by the Green Bay Packers,” Kornheiser said. “I think what they do is aim it at their fans and say, ‘Look, we tried to give him more money, we tried to give him more years, we did everything we could and he spit in our face.’ I think that’s the way they will try to spin it.”
Kornheiser is right. But, frankly, Schefter could be playing both sides of this one, in the name of keeping an open pipeline with the Packers and the Rodgers camp. Today’s fresh leak of old news, as broadcast by Schefter, helps the Packers paint Rodgers as unreasonable, only six days before the annual meeting of shareholders at Lambeau Field. By adding that Rodgers’ denial means it’s not about money (if definitely does not), Schefter also throws a bone to the player, likely ensuring that they won’t be upset with his handling of the situation.
Still, as explained earlier, the dollars offered to Rodgers don’t mean anything. The structure does. And no one has leaked whether the Packers have offered anything to Rodgers that would guarantee he’ll be on the team beyond 2021.
Which means that they haven’t.