The Green Bay Packers are in the midst of a freefall the NFL hasn’t seen in a long time. After starting 3-1 this season, they’ve lost five in a row, including a 15-9 clunker against the one-win Detroit Lions. If that weren’t bad enough, injuries are piling up at a frightening pace. Seventeen names appeared on the injury report this week, including Aaron Rodgers, David Bakhtiari, De’Vondre Campbell, Rasul Douglas, Elgton Jenkins, Eric Stokes, and Sammy Watkins. That doesn’t include top pass rusher Rashan Gary who tore his ACL in Detroit.
This team is horrifically banged up and about to face the red-hot Dallas Cowboys. Their offense can’t score, and the defense is losing starters left and right. They could fall to 3-7 by next Monday, all but killing their playoff hopes in a year everybody expected them to compete for a Super Bowl. Yet somehow, it gets even worse. In his latest column discussing Rodgers’ looming salary bump, Rob Demovsky of ESPN put everything into bleak focus. Unless the quarterback retires, the team faces a lose-lose situation in 2023 if they want to move on.
Cutting him is out of the question.
This is the least likely scenario, especially before June 1, because they would still have to pay Rodgers the option bonus and his 2023 base salary.
they would also have to count more than $99 million in dead money on their 2023 cap, which is untenable. Waiting until after June 1 would actually provide a net salary-cap savings of $50,000, even though the dead-money hit would be more than $31.5 million in 2023 and more than double that in 2024.
It would also mean the Packers would receive no compensation (eg, draft picks) if Rodgers were to play for another team after his release.
No problem, right? They can merely entertain teams in trade talks. Certainly, somebody will want to take the future Hall of Famer. nope. Even that is almost impossible at this point.
One source familiar with the contract believes the best way to trade Rodgers, especially before June 1, would be for a player with a similar contract because of all the dead money involved and suggested a player like Russell Wilson would fit that description.
“The only real way to trade him before June 1 is for another player with a bad contract,” the source said. “And that won’t happen.”
The Green Bay Packers won’t get much help from the next off-season.
Current projections have them barely under $4 million in salary cap space. That is a problem with how many key free agents they have to juggle, such as Adrian Amos, Allen Lazard, Robert Tonyan, and Jenkins. They’ll have to do lots of creative maneuvering to find enough money to keep most of those guys. Never mind trying to spend on outside free agents. Their only saving grace might be sucking enough to earn a top 10 pick.
Everything seemed so obvious for them last off-season. Rodgers had a second straight MVP year. Even at 39 years old, there was no reason to think he’d taper off, even after the Green Bay Packers were forced to trade star wide receiver Davante Adams. That was a severe miscalculation. Now Rodgers is playing the worst football of his career (14 TDs to 7 INTs), approaches his 40th birthday, and carries a bloated contract the team ca n’t escape.
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