In the standoff between the Packers and Aaron Rodgers, the team might be willing to blink first.
As general manager Brian Gutekunst sticks to the stance that he will not trade the future Hall of Fame quarterback, The Athletic reported the Packers “would trade Rodgers if they believed he was truly committed to never playing for them again.”
Rodgers is skipping voluntary OTA practices, and there is no reason to believe he will show up for mandatory minicamp on June 8 even at the risk of incurring a (relatively insignificant) $93,085 fine. The situation might not boil over until Rodgers decides whether or not to attend training camp.
But trade talks have a reason to heat up this week.
As former NFL agent Joel Corry – now a contract expert for CBS Sports – explained to The Athletic, the Packers could free up $16.05 million in salary cap space by trading Rodgers beginning Wednesday. The dead cap space would be one of the highest in NFL history at $21.152 million, but better than the alternative.
If a trade happened between the NFL Draft – when Rodgers’ trade wish first became well known – and the end of May, the Packers would’ve been on the hook for a record-setting $38.356 million dead cap charge.
Why would the Packers eventually change their stance on not dealing Rodgers? Simply put, if he retires rather than return to the Packers, the team only gets salary cap relief from him not earning his salary on the final three years of his contract and possibly recouped signing-bonus money. If they trade him, they get cap relief and draft picks to build around young quarterback Jordan Love.
One interesting solution would be if the Packers tried to appease Rodgers by trading for another disgruntled star. If the Falcons are seeking a first-round pick for Julio Jones, the Packers could believe that adding the all-decade receiver would be enough to change Rodgers’ mind about returning to Green Bay.
While Rodgers’ words in recent interviews indicate he feels disrespected by people in the organization, trading for Jones would signal the commitment to winning now and adding the elite playmaker Rodgers has been seeking for many years.