Report: Packers approached QB Aaron Rodgers about contract restructure in January

The Green Bay Packers have been working with quarterback Aaron Rodgers on restructuring or extending his contract to free up cap space for over a month.

According to Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal, the Packers initially approached Rodgers about altering his deal as early as late January, around the time of the team’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game.

On Tuesday, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst confirmed he’s spoken with several veteran players about restructuring contracts to “find solutions to this cap issue,” although he didn’t reveal if Rodgers was one of the players approached.

The Packers are around $12 million over the projected salary cap floor of $180 million. They must be under by the start of the new league year later this month.

Rodgers’ deal has the ability to create the most immediate cap space, although it’s a multi-faceted decision. His contract includes a base salary of $14.7 million and a roster bonus of $6.8 million in 2021. The Packers could turn some, most or all of both figures into a signing bonus, allowing the team to prorate the money over the final three years of his contract – creating a sizable chunk of cap space in 2021 but pushing a substantial amount of money into future years.

The Packers could also extend Rodgers’ current deal, which would likely ease the cap hits in future years while also providing some short-term relief.

Converting money in Rodgers’ deal into a signing bonus is the easiest way for the Packers to clear space without cutting a player. The conversion would also give Rodgers a much stronger financial base with the team over multiple years into the future, likely providing the commitment to him he’s reportedly desired since his MVP season in 2020 came to an end in late January.

Then again, pushing money into the future puts a strain on future caps – keep in mind, the Packers are not in a better position in 2022 or 2023, based on money already tied up into active contracts – and giving Rodgers more guaranteed money would severely complicate any future transition to 2020 first-round pick Jordan Love, if there ever is a transition.

Rodgers’ cap number is already at nearly $40 million in 2022. Lowering his $37.2 million hit in 2021 has obvious benefits but would also inflate his cap hit well over $40 million in 2022.

Rodgers’ contract has always looked like a fork in the road for the franchise. Do the Packers want to alter his deal, either by restructure or extension, and create the money necessary to be active in building the roster this offseason? Or will they leave Rodgers’ deal alone, using other avenues to clear cap space and ensuring the team has a clear path to Love in the future?

It’s a complicated issue, but a restructured deal for Rodgers would be the clearest sign yet that the Packers are committed to doing everything possible to win in 2021 and committed to Rodgers for more than just next season.


All the financial puzzle pieces the Packers are attempting to put together this offseason