On Wednesday, the New York Jets announced they had restructured quarterback Aaron Rodgers' contract. That's not an unusual occurrence and would have passed largely unnoticed around the NFL if not for the numbers that were released. Rodgers wound up taking a pay cut of roughly $35 million to help the Jets out. The Green Bay Packers have to be furious at that news.
When Rodgers was traded from the Packers to the Jets this offseason, he agreed to move a $58.3 million option bonus to 2024 to help the Jets fit him under their salary cap limit. That meant he'd be owed $107 million in 2024. That was untenable, so something had to change. Today that change was announced and it's mind-boggling. Rodgers and the Jets have agreed to a two-year deal with $75 million in guaranteed money. It will cover the 2023 and 2024 seasons and has two option years tacked onto the end of it to help prorate the signing bonus over a longer time period. His cap number in 2023 will only be $9 million, helping the Jets out tremendously by providing them with a ton of flexibility.
Rodgers had roughly $110 million guaranteed on his old contract, so he's basically giving up $35 million. The Jets have to be thrilled after they surrendered significant assets to acquire him (first-, second-, sixth-round picks in 2023 and a conditional second-rounder in 2024). The four-time MVP will be 40 by the end of the season but it appears he plans to play multiple years in New York.
After seeing Rodgers give up money to help his team, the Packers cannot be happy. Because of Rodgers' onerous contract, the Packers had to let a number of players walk over the past few years. Davante Adams is first on that list, followed by Corey Linsley, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Za'Darius Smith and Allen Lazard, among others. Rodgers wasn't bending over backwards to make things work in Green Bay. Especially after they drafted Jordan Love as his future replacement.
Before the 2022 season, Rodgers and the Packers agreed to what was essentially a three-year, $150.8 million deal with $101.5 million guaranteed. It was technically a five-year deal but the final two seasons were added solely for salary cap purposes. It was a massive contract that clogged up the team's balance sheet.
On top of that, to trade him away, the franchise had to incur a $40 million dead cap penalty for doing so. That's a big part of the reason Lazard is gone and they couldn't add much in free agency this offseason. So even though Rodgers is playing for the Jets, the Packers have a $40 million hole in their ledger because of him. And his new salary is actually worth less than the cap hit the Packers are taking. Yikes.
Yeah, I'd imagine the folks in the offices on Lombardi Way aren't thrilled today.