Aaron Rodgers has held the Packers hostage all offseason, demanding a trade and declining to sign a new contract that could have opened up cap space for the Packers.
Today is the first time we see how much that hurt the Packers.
Former Atlanta Falcons All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones was traded to the Tennessee Titans today for a second- and fourth-round pick, which seems like a minimal return before you realize the Titans are paying all of Jones' remaining contract.
The Packers could have easily swung a trade for Jones based on pick compensation. Whether they actually would have done so is a moot point because they didn't have the cap space to absorb Jones' contract. They would have had that space if Rodgers restructured his contract. His refusal to do so killed their ability to make that trade before talks could even start.
The Packers only have $6.8 million in cap space currently and Jones is set to earn over $15 million this year. Figuring out how to create nearly $9 million isn't easy. Converting a large portion of Rodgers' $38 million cap hit into a signing bonus with the new contract was their clearest path toward it.
Of course, Rodgers has every right to do what he wants. The Packers did him dirty when they traded up to select Jordan Love in the 2020 NFL Draft and he's repaying the favor. But he has no recourse if the Packers decline to trade him. The only thing he can do is play for the Packers and try to win the Super Bowl. That would have been easier with Julio Jones. Too bad they couldn't make it work monetarily.