Can The Packers Trade Aaron Rodgers? If So, When?

The Packers selected Jordan Love by moving up from the 30th pick to number 26.  Many folks think a good model for reaching a super bowl is to have an inexpensive quarterback starting for the team.  Aaron Rodgers is not inexpensive, so when could the Packers release or trade Rodgers?

2020: Straight Trade/Release - NO!

If traded today, Rodgers has $51.148M in dead money charges that would accelerate onto the 2020 cap.  Since his current cap number is $21.642M, the Packers' cap space would shrink by $29.506M.  The team has insufficient cap space to absorb that kind of dead money charge.  It would be illegal.  The team has about $11M in cap space, but about $5.5M has to be used to pay for the practice squad, the 52nd and 53rd players, and to sign their draft picks.

To generate the necessary cap space, Green Bay would have to trade David Bakhtiari and Davante Adams, which gains $20.75M.  Still short, the team could trade Corey Linsley to gain $8.5M more.  That would be $29.25M, still short, but close enough with the team's current cap space.

Otherwise, after trading Bakhtiari and Adams, the team could trade or release Lane Taylor to get $4M in cap space and then restructure Preston Smith to gain roughly $5M.  The Packers cannot get much cap relief by restructuring ZaDarius Smith or really anyone else.

 

2020: Post June Trade - YES

$1.964M cap savings in 2020*.  The Packers would have to take $14.352M in a signing bonus proration and $5.24M for the roster bonus just paid as dead money charges in 2020.  That would result in $1.964M in cap saving for 2020.  It leaves a dead money charge in 2021 of $31.556M.  Since Rodgers' scheduled cap number for 2021 is $36.352M, the team would have $4.796M more in cap space than overthecap is currently projecting for 2021.  Note with Covid-19, the expected increase in the salary cap is problematic.  

2020 Positional Spending:  $53.548M with an immediate trade.  [The Packers would have to divert large resources already committed to other positions.]  Jordon Love's cap number should be about $2.4M plus the $51.148M dead for Rodgers.  For my own safety (so my head does not explode), I am going to simplify the rest.  With an immdiate trade, it would be $2.4M plus $51.148M for Rodgers and probably $752K for Boyle (if not more should the Packers decide a veteran backup is necessary).  That's adds up to $53.548M.  

2020 Positional Spending would be $22.744M with a June trade. Rodgers would count $19.592M, Love about $2.4M, and Boyle $752K, which adds up to $22.744M for 2020 (with that pesky $31M dead money charge in 2021).

 

2021: Immediate Trade in February or March: YES

The Packers would gain $4.79M in cap space and have no dead money in 2022.  That is after taking a $31.56M dead money charge but offsetting it against Rodgers' $36.352M scheduled cap number.

Post June trade: $15.2M in cap saving for 2021* with a $17.204M dead charge for 2022.  If Rodgers agreed to defer payment of his $6.8M roster bonus until after June (and the acquiring team agreed to pay it all), then the cap savings would be $22M.  Rodgers has a $6.8M roster bonus due March 15.

Positional Spending:  $34.46M in 2021 with an immediate trade.  That is $31.56M for Rodgers, plus perhaps $2.9M for Love.  Boyle would be an RFA, and his salary, either the tender or a negotiated salary that is less than the tender, should be added (or the cost of a veteran backup) to QB positional spending. 

It is $17.25M with a post June trade (with a $17.202M dead money charge in 2022).  Rodgers would have a $14.352M dead money cap hit (not counting the $17.2M dead in 2022), plus Love's $2.9M hit.  [This is the first year Green Bay could divert money from the quarterback position to shore up other positions, but it only is possible with a June trade.]

 

2022: Immediate Trade - YES.  Post June Trade - YES

$22.648M in cap savings in 2022 with no dead money charge in 2023.  A post June trade would generate $25M* in cap saving with a $2.85M dead money charge in 2023. 

*Add $500K to the post June cap savings in each year if the acquiring team pays Rodgers' workout bonus.  Workout bonuses are usually earned by early June and paid shortly thereafter.  Here, the trade would be official June 2nd, but Rodgers would still have to pass a physical, and who knows when that might be, especially in 2020.

Positional Spending: $17.752M plus an unknown amount for a backup or two.  That is $3.4M for Love and $$14.352M +$2.85M dead for Rodgers.  in 2023).

 

Year Cap Savings Pos. Spending
2020 Now -$29.506M $53.548M
2020 June +$1.964M $22.744 + $31M dead
2021 March +$4.79M $34.46M + backup
2021 June +15.20M/$22M $17.25M + $17.2 dead + vet?
2022 March +22.648M $20.602M No dead + backups
2022 June +$25.0M $17.75M + $2.85M dead in 2023

The Packers would not have a really cheap quarterback position until 2023 when Love would have about a $4M salary cap number.  Love would be on his fifth year option in 2024 which is considerably less useful under the new CBA.  With a Pro Bowl or two, he might earn the transition tag number.  Drafting Love really does not make too much sense from a pure cap perspective if the model is paying one's quarterback around or less than 4% of the salary cap and using that money to buy free agents..   

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Comments (61)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Cubbygold's picture

April 24, 2020 at 01:28 pm

Would be fascinating to know what Rodgers trade value is over these time periods. I wonder how much his value changes from June 2020 to June 2022 as these numbers change and as he ages.

Obviously GB could look to trade other players with large cap hits in conjunction with a Rodgers trade to make some of this more feasible.

Looks like a lot of work, thanks for putting this together.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 24, 2020 at 01:29 pm

Cold hard facts. No matter how much you want to see Rodgers slinging it to superduper receivers for the next 5 years.

Can Rodgers win a Super Bowl in the next two seasons? With the right team around him, sure.

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baldski's picture

April 24, 2020 at 03:49 pm

How do they get by San Francisco?

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dobber's picture

April 24, 2020 at 01:32 pm

Not to blow my own horn, but I've been saying that 2021 is a possibility. The June 1 designation makes it more so...not to mention, a 37-year-old Rodgers would likely still have some significant trade value and accelerate a restocking. It's only feasible if Love looks like he's got the chops to be "the man".

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 24, 2020 at 03:12 pm

I guess you are not allowed to blow your own horn judging by the downvotes!

But I did note your caveat about a 2021 trade, and agreed with the cap premise. In fact, I also made similar comments.

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Bure9620's picture

April 24, 2020 at 01:34 pm

Great breakdown

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albert999's picture

April 24, 2020 at 01:37 pm

They need to pick ANTONIO GANDY GOLDEN
ultimate sleeper STEAL OF THE DRAFT

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IDriveALambeau's picture

April 24, 2020 at 04:22 pm

leave the horn blowing to the 2 cool for skol Viqueens

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Lphill's picture

April 24, 2020 at 01:39 pm

Trade him to the 49ers or Patriots so he can go out a winner , Gute has shown winning now is not a priority. By passing over Queen for Love that shows he is fine with the porous run defense.

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Bure9620's picture

April 24, 2020 at 02:22 pm

No, that is not what it shows

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GeorgiaCheesehead's picture

April 24, 2020 at 02:23 pm

Absolutely trade him to be with a team that dors care about winning. Obviously the packers dont. BG can go F himself fing loser POS

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stockholder's picture

April 24, 2020 at 02:44 pm

I agree. Rodgers should demand to be traded. Forget about signing any teammates next year. They'll leave; why the gettin is good. Gutey was told right out what would happen. It has. Rodgers doesn't owe anybody anything in Green Bay. Gutey now has shown he only cares about his glory.

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Minniman's picture

April 24, 2020 at 04:54 pm

There's an intriguing point and question for you TGR - If Rodgers does demand to get traded and GB then tried to renegotiate his contract to make it more palatable, would there be some rule(s) by the NFL that would prevent both parties from making such a deal that reduced his cap hit and made a trade more appealing for both sides?

Regarding the Love drafting - Gute has done the equivalent of taking 3/4 his entire year's pay check and gone to the Casino. I just watched the first installment of that Michael Jordan doco on Netflix and I can't help but see the parallels here.......Is Gute going to be the second coming of Jerry Krause (ex Chicago Bulls GM).

Unfortunately he's betting on the remainder of the draft to fall his way (and replenish current roster needs) in order to cover this future need gamble.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 24, 2020 at 07:13 pm

No. AR can take a pay cut if he wants to. What can't be undone is any money GB has already paid to AR.

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Minniman's picture

April 24, 2020 at 09:18 pm

Thanks. You mentioned a couple of years ago when you did a breakdown on his current contract that while there is no doubting Rodgers' greatness, unless the Packers draft lights-out for the remainder of his career then the Packers won't be able to afford to pay to keep the roster holes filled around him. Looks like that scenario may play here.

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dobber's picture

April 24, 2020 at 10:00 pm

Given the Packers converted some of his salary to bonus last fall, I think they need to wait a full year to adjust it again, don't they?

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lowcsp's picture

April 24, 2020 at 01:45 pm

Come on people get real

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PackFlip's picture

April 24, 2020 at 01:50 pm

Hard to not be doom and gloom re what transpired last night at the 26th pick. At first my draw dropped. Then a series of "no, no, no, no, no way's" happened. Then went to bed furious. Woke up today and did my usual light GB article readings and a tad of gossip on these pages. Lots of guys trying to rationalize the pick. I've tried every way to wrap my head around it and come to the conclusion that I can't. I won't. I hate it. Terrible pick. Ryan Leaf territory.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 24, 2020 at 02:12 pm

It was the 26th pick, not the 6th or 16th. If Lynch didn't move up for Aiyuk, he would be wearing green and gold.
Like during this time of pandemic, people need to be realistic. The board said Love. Murray was within the move up strike but the Chargers jumped into the mix. Lynch overpaid for his move on Aiyuk. Rodgers isn't going anywhere for at least three years, unless he sustains an injury.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 24, 2020 at 02:31 pm

Yes, I understand that line of thought. However, Gute moved up to get Love. That's manipulating the draft order rather than letting it come to you.

IOWs, every year when the Packers picked late in the first round, at some point the last player the team had with a first-round grade came off the board. Generally, GB did not move up to nab that last player.

The board didn't say Love. It was manipulated to say Love. And a GM can do that every year. What happened is that Gute fell in love with another prospect, indeed another developmental prospect, and grabbed him. I do hope Gute isn't going to do that every year.

It means that GB had to think that Love was considerably higher rated that Josh Jones, Queen, Mims, the CB, and the others in the 1st/2nd round grade area. And that he couldn't move back, which is unlikely. I assume that some team like Indy called Gute to move up for Love, and Gute realized if Indy or Miami were calling him, they might call teams ahead of GB. So I think a trade down was available. For shame, Gute.

I suspect that GB could have traded with MN for number 25 to pick Love and only given up a 5th. Spielman still got Gladney at 31 and might have been happy to facilitate GB's errant manuever (yeah, that's sarcasm, but hopefully with a barb).

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Bure9620's picture

April 24, 2020 at 02:58 pm

I understand your thinking TGR, they did manipulate the draft, though moving up 4 spots for a 4th isn't really signficant draft capital. But this likely tells me Gute did not have a first round grade on many remaining players if any. Love was the best player remaining and may have been the only player with a first round grade. Also it tells me Gute is not too in "Love" (pun intended) with the possible QBs coming out in the next couple years. I dont think you want to rely on a division rival as a trade partner either.

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splitpea1's picture

April 24, 2020 at 05:48 pm

I think you're 100% correct in your analysis, and I'm glad to see someone isn't sugar-coating this decision with a bunch of happy talk. I'm sorry to hear about your cat--pets are family.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 24, 2020 at 07:18 pm

Thank you. I have had a lot of cats, usually just one at a time but my wife was crazy so sometimes two or three. Plus a dog usually. Bubba was exceptional in that he was very affectionate, even clingy, especially after my wife passed away six years ago. No need for condolences about my bride - I got a lot of condolences at the time. She was a Packer nut and would understand that the draft is happening!

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dobber's picture

April 24, 2020 at 01:53 pm

Here's another unpopular proposal: as others have noted here, the 2020 college season is in jeopardy. Many large universities are already making plans to do a significant amount of their teaching by distance learning methods...which means: very little sports in 2020-21. This means a whole draft class in 2021 with virtually no film...which also means a whole lotta whiffs and misses, and good players coming up much later in the draft than they should. If you can find a sucker to take that 2021 #1 pick for a #2 tonight and maybe a late rounder, it might not be such a bad idea. The value of early picks next year will be diminished.

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Since'61's picture

April 24, 2020 at 02:10 pm

If there is little or no football in 2020 how do you determine the draft order for 2021. Do you just use the same order as 2020? If yes, how is that fair? If I’m in the first 10 picks for 2020, then I’m hoping for no 2020 season so I can be in the top 10 again. That can’t be right.

As for Love, he appears to be pretty talented but playing in the Mountain West Conference. How good are the teams in that conference? I haven’t followed college football closely since the 80s. Perhaps Al or some of our draftniks on our blog can enlighten me about the level of quality that Love has played against. Stay well.
Thanks, Since ‘61

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gkarl's picture

April 24, 2020 at 02:03 pm

great cap analysis as usual, Thanks

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 24, 2020 at 02:17 pm

My son has been reluctant to build a new laptop for me because of Bubba the Cat. If you click on my avatar, you can see Bubba on my lap with his tail and all four paws on the keyboard/touchpad. And it is a glorious tail! My son says my laptops become giant hairballs and building something nice isn't worth his time. Anyway, I had to upgrade from Windows 7 to 10, but since then I have been having more and more problems with my laptop.

The point is that I was writing this article last night with multiple tabs open (OTC, Sportrac, rookie cap estimates) and a spreadsheet. I was almost done after 2 to 3 hours when my laptop belched, went blank, and then came back up, but the article in the CHTV's publishing software was blank, as was the google spreadsheet! Arggh!

So I redid all of the calculations, saving very often, but not using a spreadsheet in the same way as I normally would. I believe the numbers are correct. Sadly, Bubba passed away a week ago. I guess I will look into upgrading my laptop now, unless I get another cat.

Moral of the story: Save your work frequently, and the Packers will not really be able to follow the model of winning a super bowl with a cheap QB all that well under the current scenario.

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flackcatcher's picture

April 24, 2020 at 04:03 pm

No matter were you hide Bubba will find you... (My personal Laptop nah... My government one, OH YEAH...:-)

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

April 24, 2020 at 02:19 pm

Wow, Before today when I went back and looked I didn't think trading, or cutting (gasp) Rodgers before June 2022 was feasible. It's pretty clear now they could do that after this season and get back good picks for Rodgers. It's crazy to even ponder, but the NFL is a business.

If nothing else now Rodgers knows this and hopefully it motivates him. He hasn't had any competition in well over a decade.

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stockholder's picture

April 24, 2020 at 03:09 pm

Don't be surprised if Rodgers goes on the injured reserve first.

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Bure9620's picture

April 24, 2020 at 05:31 pm

That is a distinct possibility

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MarkinMadison's picture

April 24, 2020 at 02:26 pm

TGR - what if #12 is traded for a player plus picks? Say a top level WR or TE? How would that impact the feasibility of trading #12? The other team would gain "dead" money from trading a WR to the Packers, and the Packers would gain "dead" money from trading Rodgers, but both would be getting real-time value out of the "dead" money. Does that work? Could we have a "cheap" QB in 2021 with an "expensive" WR?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 24, 2020 at 02:56 pm

Sort of. The table shows what trading AR does to the cap and it doesn't matter whether GB gets draft picks in the 2020 or 2021 drafts plus a player back. The numbers as to AR won't change.

But I get what you mean. Some probably unlikely scenarios where GB gets a player back might help the overall cap situation. For example, GB sends AR to New Orleans and gets picks and OC Erik McCoy back. That doesn't change the micro analysis on AR's cap ramifications but if GB plugs McCoy in at center (on his cheap rookie deal - $1.38M cap #) and allows Gute to trade Linsley immediately, saving $8.5M and getting a pick to boot, that would help the Packers' cap by $8.5M - $1.38M plus whatever the pick brings.

The player would have to play a position that is costing GB a lot of money and which has big cap savings if traded or released. If trading AR netted a pick plus Orlando Brown, McGlinchey (not sure he's a LT), Kolton Miller, then the Packers could trade Bakh and get a pick and save $11.5M or so.

Problem is that GB picks up significant cap savings only with Bakh, Linsley and Taylor.

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NWPackersfan's picture

April 24, 2020 at 02:52 pm

So, i may have missed a post on this particular scenario but didn't Rodgers sit behind Favre for 3 years before being the starter? Or what if they groom this young QB and use him as a possible trade in 2 years? just some thoughts.
I, too, was floored when they moved up to take a QB in the first round. Maybe Lafleur isn't liking having a QB that's considered one of the greats and almost the same age. He might prefer a more moldable QB....again just thinking out loud.
Go Packers!!!!

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 24, 2020 at 03:08 pm

All valid points. Perhaps Love gets to play a string of games during 2020 and/or 2021 and shows he is really good. GB might be able to shop Love if AR still elite still. If Love looks elite, GB gets more than the late first they invested (but GB would just keep the elite Love, right?). If Love looks pretty good, GB might get a Garopolo return, maybe a late first or a 2nd, and comes out a bit ahead plus the value of Love's play in 2020 and/or 2021.

In any event, trading Love later seems unlikely to net more than the first they spent. Depends on how good Love is, and perhaps on how good AR remains.

OTC has a similar article to mine out now. Here is the link below. The numbers (I am thankful) seem very similar.

https://overthecap.com/the-packers-options-with-aaron-rodgers/

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baldski's picture

April 24, 2020 at 04:01 pm

I think you're right. MF looked mighty happy with the pick.

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Irish_Cheesehead's picture

April 24, 2020 at 03:10 pm

As an old fart who was around back in 2005, it’s amazing to see some of the same speculations and thoughts being thrown around. Rodgers isn’t going anywhere in the near future. He is, however, nearing the end of his career. He may choose to step away sooner than the Packers want, or he may, like Favre, want to play on longer than the team sees his value. Either way, a team has to plan for the future. I’d rather have them groom a guy for a few years than draft a guy and throw him to the wolves as a starter from day 1 the way most teams do. Just my opinion. I wanted Queen, but I can see Gute’s logic.

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4thand1's picture

April 24, 2020 at 03:22 pm

The beef AR has is, since he's been a starter, the Packers haven't drafted a skill position player in the 1st round. Love is the 1st (slap in the face) can't throw to him. TT and MM blew it for years now Gute has to change it. Hope he goes all out offense tonight. Going to tough getting a playmaker at 62 is it?

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Turophile's picture

April 24, 2020 at 05:49 pm

Good piece TGR.
Rodgers value at this time is that starting him allows Love a year or two on the bench. That is absolute gold for young QBs, it gives them time to understand an NFL offense (which is often very different to what was seen and run in college).

Love is, in effect, the first try at getting a starting QB to follow on from Rodgers. He gets a couple of years grace (but would probably be put in if Rodgers went down injured) and the Packers have time to work out if he is the future. If he isn't the one, there is still time for another shot That second shot wouldn't get the sitting time Love probably gets, but that's just how it is.

2022 (before the season starts) looks like a good year to move on from Rodgers, whether it is a release or a trade, which gives Love two years (2020, 2021) to learn, and if he fails you might wish to keep Rodgers one more year (2022) with a different new QB.

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Lare's picture

April 24, 2020 at 03:39 pm

Luck?

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Turophile's picture

April 24, 2020 at 05:50 pm

Meant Love of course, No idea why i said Luck. I've changed it now in the original comment.

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stockholder's picture

April 24, 2020 at 03:29 pm

#12 Retires first . Then comes back.

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dobber's picture

April 24, 2020 at 04:10 pm

Packers still own his rights.

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Lare's picture

April 24, 2020 at 03:45 pm

Thanks for another great article TGR.

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GeorgiaCheesehead's picture

April 24, 2020 at 03:51 pm

Anyone who isn’t furious with this franchise IS part of the problem. You just accept whatever garbage decisions and moves they make year after year. GB will Not win another SB with these clowns like MM and BG in charge.

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Bure9620's picture

April 24, 2020 at 05:36 pm

What exactly do you categorize as an acceptable decision then? I have been watching film of Love for months and was hoping he was available. It is quite easy to sit back and say everyone is stupid and full of it, but actually providing analysis or an alternative scenario would make more sense.

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GeorgiaCheesehead's picture

April 24, 2020 at 03:51 pm

Anyone who isn’t furious with this franchise IS part of the problem. You just accept whatever garbage decisions and moves they make year after year. GB will Not win another SB with these clowns like MM and BG in charge.

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Demon's picture

April 24, 2020 at 03:58 pm

They may as well trade AR as soon as the contract allows. As well as Adams, the 2 Smiths and K Clark. Last night the Packers ran up the white flag. Last night the Packers closed the book on the AR era.

I would have rather seen Gute draft a fullback last night than a QB. a fullback may have given you something this year.

Are we supposed to believe that of all the players coming out for the draft, there wasnt one available that could help the team this year? Gute screwed up badly!

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GoGbainGo's picture

April 26, 2020 at 04:08 am

Well, he drafted two fullbacks in rounds 2 And 3...

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@ballark's picture

April 24, 2020 at 04:21 pm

I printed out a copy of this article just so I could set it on fire and burn it into ashes.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 24, 2020 at 04:40 pm

Thanks for the laugh. I don't care whether you did it because you thought the article was rubbish or if you just wanted to burn the message in it.

So far, I've seen no effigies of Gute on fire.

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4thand1's picture

April 24, 2020 at 05:53 pm

Love was the BPA left on the Packers board. He just happened to be a QB.

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fthisJack's picture

April 25, 2020 at 07:17 am

They should have waited until their pick at 30 before taking him instead of throwing away a 4th rounder. there was not one QB needy team ahead of them unless of course someone was dumb enough to trade up for him. I hated the Gary pick and i really really hate this pick.

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Gbpackrat's picture

April 24, 2020 at 08:23 pm

Rodgers future was dependent on drafting some help! WR, TE, or OL. Not a QB.

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Pierre's picture

April 24, 2020 at 10:10 pm

No one is gonna give up any picks for Rodgers when he’s 39 in two years (2022). The Packers will waste another 2-4 years with an aging, declining skills QB who is 1-3 in championship games, not even been to a SB in 10 years, a diva for teammates and coaches to work with and not a clutch player in winning playoff games at all. Has close to a losing record in road games and throws his receivers ‘under the bus’ way too often on the field.
Yes, he throws the least interceptions, but who cares if he is also just throwing the ball out of bounds at a high rate and punting the ball away because he is too often afraid to throw into tight windows anymore and give his receivers a chance to make a play on a ball. Rather have a risky winning QB. It helps little to have the least picks if you end up losing important playoff games year after year and Rodgers has had many years to prove himself in the playoffs...but does not get it done for the elite money he is paid.
It’s clear to see the writing on the wall. Packers will be the same old mediocre unexciting losing team until they move on to a new young QB and then have the money to build a great defense, even if that young QB is just a game manager type QB.

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MB8830's picture

April 25, 2020 at 03:57 pm

This is one of the best, most objective posts I have read here in a very long time. Well done!

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TheBigCheeze's picture

April 25, 2020 at 03:44 pm

apparently...you don't realize how stupid all of those scenarios look....mark my words......THE PACKERS WILL N O T WIN A SUPER BOWL WITH LOVE.....

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 25, 2020 at 05:41 pm

It is not my purpose when I write for CHTV to assess the intelligence of moves the Packers make, just to present the numbers for the readers.

I like Love as a prospect, but I don't think the timing is right for Love in GB. The team won't really get the benefit of the cheap rookie QB starting. That's not Love's fault, that the decision to extend AR and the doubling down last Dec. 27 to push $11M more of dead money into 2020 and beyond.

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Johnx's picture

April 25, 2020 at 04:38 pm

It is $17.25M with a post June trade (with a $17.202M dead money charge in 2022). Rodgers would have a $14.352M dead money cap hit (not counting the $17.2M dead in 2022), plus Love's $2.9M hit. [This is the first year Green Bay could divert money from the quarterback position to shore up other positions, but it only is possible with a June trade.]

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Johnx's picture

April 25, 2020 at 04:39 pm

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

April 25, 2020 at 08:17 pm

@thegreatreynoldo

I just realized that given the Packers can feasibly trade Rodgers in June 2021 and the possibility that there is no NFL in 2020 due to COVID, we might have seen that last of Rodgers in Green Bay. I don't think it's likely, but it's possible and that's a shocker.

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