Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the Aaron Rodgers-Green Bay Packers dispute that has ruled the NFL news cycle all offseason is that nobody really knows what the problem is. We've gotten hints here and there, but not a single insider or anonymous report has been able to pinpoint exactly what the Packers need to fix in order for Rodgers to return to the fold.
Maybe both sides of this beef would prefer to negotiate in private rather than waging a PR war through ESPN or NFL Network. Maybe the situation isn't fixable. Maybe they settled their differences months ago and are just having fun at the public's expense. The last one is unlikely, but not totally out of the question because we have no idea what's happening!
Adam Schefter, the man who dropped the bomb that started this all back in April, attempted to provide more clarity today by reporting the Packers offered Rodgers a massive contract extension that would both make him the highest-paid QB in the league and lock him in with the Packers for the next five seasons.
I suppose that the ESPN insider is right and that this information is further proof that Rodgers' issues do not involve how many zeros are at the end of his paycheck. But because of the way contracts are handled in the NFL, this report doesn't really tell us much at all.
We saw the Saints sign Taysom Hill to a four-year deal allegedly worth over $100 million this offseason. In reality, that was just a one-year extension worth slightly over $10 million. The rest of the money and the years on the deal were included simply to alleviate the cap situation and at no point will New Orleans pay their utility guy nine digits. I'm not saying that's what the Packers did, but it should demonstrate how nebulous the whole "highest-paid" tagline is when we don't have any firm details about the language of the deal.
The deal could have been loaded with nearly impossible to reach incentives. The salary might have been non-guaranteed. The only real piece of intel we got from this report was that somebody is still talking to Schefter about it all but it's hard to tell which side would have wanted to put this out there.
It certainly does not change the bottom line: the Packers have until the end of July to fix this, whether by appeasing Rodgers or trading him. Things will get ugly after that.