So, the drama is over (for now) and Aaron Rodgers will be signing a new deal to stay in Green Bay. According to Ian Rapoport, Rodgers will return on a four-year deal worth $200 million with $153 million guaranteed. It makes it likely that the four-time NFL MVP will finish his career with the Packers. The details have yet to be finalized but AR-12 will remain a Packer. Rodgers himself has denied the specific terms outlined by Rapoport and indicated he is returning but the deal has yet to be signed.
Here are five things we do know after Rodgers’ announcement that he is staying in Green Bay:
- The Packers Will Get Cap Relief
Rodgers was scheduled to have a cap hit of roughly $46.1 million for 2022. Because this is a four-year deal that will keep Rodgers in Green Bay into his early 40s and it features a lot of guaranteed money, the Packers will get significant cap relief this season.
The details have yet to be announced, but expect the new deal, once signed, to free up at least $10 million and probably more depending on how the new deal is structured.
This gives the Packers a path to getting under the 2022 NFL salary cap of $208.2 million.
- The Packers Will Be In Win Now Mode
Rodgers was the lynchpin of the Packers offseason plans. GM Brian Gutekunst said the Packers had two plans to move ahead, one with Rodgers returning and one with him either retiring or being traded.
The Packers will now be in win-now mode as they try to get Rodgers a second Super Bowl title in the four years he has left on his contract.
Expect to see more contract extensions to free up short-term cap space. Some players, like edge rusher Za’Darius Smith, are likely to be let go. Eventually, the bill for these extensions will come due, but the Packers will do all they can to give the team a chance to contend so long as Rodgers continues to play at an elite level.
- The Odds Increase That Davante Adams Returns
While it’s not done until it’s done, the Packers are now more likely to keep All Pro receiver Davante Adams. The Packers have used the franchise tag on Adams so unless the Packers trade him, he will either play in Green Bay in 2022 or he won’t play in the NFL at all.
If Rodgers signs his new deal before the start of the new NFL league year, the Packers should be able to free up enough cap space to carry Adams on the franchise tag which would be approximately $20.1 million for this season.
Gutekunst now has until mid-July to work out a new, long-term contract with Adams who wants to be the highest paid receiver in the league. Because of Adams friendship and unique connection with Rodgers on the field, the Packers chances of inking Adams to a long-term deal just went up.
- What Happens Next with Jordan Love?
If Rodgers stays in Green Bay for the next four years, where does that leave Jordan Love? Love has two years left on his rookie deal and barring an injury, he will be Rodgers’ backup for the remainder of that contract.
The Packers may have an incentive to trade Love this offseason. The 2022 NFL Draft has a weak quarterback class and many scouts have said that Love would be the top quarterback in this year’s draft had he been part of this class.
There are also not many quality starting quarterbacks available in free agency. Published reports indicate that shortly after Rodgers announced he would stay in Green Bay, the Broncos and Seahawks announced a blockbuster deal that would send Russell Wilson from Seattle to Denver.
Love’s value may never be higher in the trade market because of the limited supply of quality quarterbacks available in the draft and free agency. While it’s doubtful Gutekunst could get a first round pick back for the former Utah State star, if a team bowls him over with a trade proposal, it may make sense to deal Love.
If nobody makes Gute a deal he cannot turn down, Love would still be a reasonably-priced backup in 2022 and 2023 while he is still on his entry-level deal.
- The Drama Is Over (For Now)
For the last two offseasons, the Packers have been dealing with the melodrama surrounding Rodgers. With this new deal in place, the Packers have stability at quarterback for the next four seasons unless, of course, Rodgers changes his mind at some point in the future.
Now, the path forward is clear and the direction of the team is clearer. The Packers have enjoyed Hall of Fame-caliber quarterback play since 1992 when Brett Favre took over as the starter. That should continue through 2025.
Once Rodgers retires or leaves, the Packers may face a cap crunch and a major rebuild, but for the next few seasons, the Packers should remain one of the teams with a realistic chance to Super Bowl contenders.
Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers
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