Packers Sign Amari Rodgers

The Packers reached an agreement with Amari Rodgers on a four-year, rookie deal worth a total of $4.899 million.  Rodgers is the last of the Packers' draft picks to sign a contract.  Rodgers will have a cap number of $890,891 for 2021.  I previously projected his cap number at $897,550.  His deal looks like this:

 

Year Base SB W/O Cap # Dead Savings
'21 $660K $230,891 $0 $890.9K $923K - $32K
'22 $842K $230,891 $40K $1.113M $692K $421K
'23 $1.065M $230,891 $40K $1.336M $462K $875K
'24 $1.288M $230,891 $40K $1.559M $231K $1.33M

The only guaranteed money is the signing bonus, which totals $923,524.  The Packers do like their workout bonuses, and managed to insert a total of $120,000 for that purpose.  Workout bonuses are deemed likely to be earned for cap purposes because it is within the player's sole control whether he earns the bonus, as long as he is still on the roster.  Still, it is not the same as money guaranteed in a signing bonus, so agents usually resist them for premium picks.  The Packers were unable to insert workout bonuses in the contracts of Josh Myers or Eric Stokes and did not use them in their day three picks.   

The contract might and probably does contain a split salary in case of injury.  The Packers inserted a split salary into the contracts of Josiah Deguara and Simon Stepaniak last year.  In Deguara's case, the Packers paid him for the first two weeks at the normal rookie minimum and then paid the remaining weeks based on a $450,000 base salary.  Ditto for Stepaniak.  Both players received their full signing bonuses.  

Now that all of the Packers' draft picks have signed, we can determine how much cap space was needed to sign them under the Rule of 51.  The player with the 51st-highest cap number at present is Vernon Scott with a $800,922 charge.  Any cap numbers below that number would not count against the cap.  

Royce Newman has a first year cap number of $784,836.  Signing him and the other day three picks did not cost the Packers any cap space.  Stokes at $2.168 million (minus roughly $801K) decreased the team's cap space by $1.367 million.  Signing Josh Myers for $1.014M decreased the space by $213K and Rodgers decreased it by $90K.  So, signing the draft class reduced the Packers' cap space by about $1.67 million.

The Packers have almost $4.9M in cap space at present.  The 52nd and 53rd contracts will cost at least $1.32M ($660K times two) but those last two players could be players with higher cap numbers such as two players making $780K each for a total of $1.56M.  I would budget $1.4M for the last two players and $3.168M (which is the absolute minimum) for the practice squad.  That totals roughly $4.6M, leaving the Packers a few hundred thousand dollars under the cap limit.  That will not be enough to get through the season.  The first player the packers put on PUP or IR during the regular season (if such a player had no game active bonus - which is most players) would put the Packers in the red.

The Packers probably need to generate at least $3M in cap space, and $5M more would not be amiss.  The team can realize some savings depending on the players they choose to cut in September.  That should depend on performance in training camp, which mercifully starts in a few days.

 

 

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5 points

Comments (11)

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

July 25, 2021 at 10:23 pm

"That should depend on performance in training camp, which mercifully starts in a few days."

I hope we get some mercy when it starts.

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Since'61's picture

July 25, 2021 at 10:28 pm

TGR nice job on the update. Appreciate the information. Be well. Thanks, Since ‘61

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 26, 2021 at 02:09 am

I should note that the Packers have an abnormally large number of players entering their second to fourth seasons which means they have a lot of players making $780K, $850K or $920K on the roster, at least for the time being. That pushed the 51st highest cap number to $801K. So the roughly $1.67M to sign GB's draft picks is lower than normal.

I think the reason for that is in part due to the PS being expanded, and the rule allowing players to be promoted to the active roster for 2 games (more often if they were designated as Covid-19 replacements). A player needs to be active for six games to earn an accrued season towards free agency, but only needs to be active for three games to earn a credited season. And a credited season is what earns a player a bump in pay from the minimum to the next tier; that is, from $660K to $780K, and then $780K/$850K, $920K. The Packers were aware of that: the team often only promoted one player from the PS to the active roster rather than the two the rules allowed. A lot of players were promoted for two games (see Stanford Samuels) but not three.

Another reason is that Gute (like TT before him) has been active (and pretty good, IMO) with making waiver claims and signing street free agents. Some of those players had experience and thus credited seasons so their salaries are up there. Despite that, a significant number of such players will not make the 53.

Take for example, Nauta ($850K) and Kaufusi ($920K). One of them likely will not make the team and it is quite possible that neither will. The TEs will be Tonyan, Lewis, and Dafney, plus Deguara, assuming he returns from PUP sometime during TC, which is not a given, I suppose, and possibly Sternberger. Daffney doesn't count under the rule of 51, but at $780K he is $70K cheaper than Nauta and $140K cheaper than Kaufusi.

Deguara's situation is what I call churn. If Deguara starts the season on the PUP, the Packers will be paying him money while also paying someone else to be on the 53 man roster since Deguara does not have any game active roster bonus to lose.

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Savage57's picture

July 26, 2021 at 05:41 am

You got me.

I about had a heart attack when I first glanced at the headline.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 26, 2021 at 07:53 am

Acquit me of evil intent: I made sure to put the first name in the title.

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greengold's picture

July 26, 2021 at 06:39 am

i’m glad they got Rodgers signed, and all that stuff is finally settled. Great to hear!

Thanks, TGR!

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Guam's picture

July 26, 2021 at 07:37 am

Great work as usual TGR - thanks! And you just made a great case for why expensive and unproductive third years players like Burks and Jackson will not make the team. The Pack can get some of their needed $3 million by turning those two loose.

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PeteK's picture

July 26, 2021 at 10:22 am

As related to the cap and Rodgers's possible retirement. I know we save the 21 mill owed to him, but does he have to give back some of the signing bonus?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 26, 2021 at 04:24 pm

Yes, and it is a lot. If he retired, he'd have to return the original proration of his signing bonus for 2021 and 2022 (the signing bonus was originally for 5 years, meaning he did not have a proration for 2023 at signing). That's about $11.5M per year for a total of $23M. He'd also have to return the $6.8M he got last March if he doesn't play this year. [He does not have to return any "dead money" from restructures since those were conversions of base and roster bonuses to signing bonuses). That totals $29.8M of cap (and cash) relief.

The only downside is that this cap relief probably would not come until 2022. Still, his base salary of $14.7M and his $850K escalator earned last year would not have to be paid and would come off the salary cap immediately. He would provide the same cap relief as a post June release or a post june trade.

That's a lot of cap relief. Since he could "unretire" at any time during the season, it would not be wise to spend the $14.7M on other players. If spent and AR unretired and reported, the Packers would have to pay it AND find the cap space. Their choices would be pay him and find the space, release him. If they had the cap space, they could trade him mid-season for whatever the team could get, but a release could happen.

PACKERS HAVE REACHED A DEAL WITH AARON RODGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

July 26, 2021 at 11:13 am

Thanks TGR!

I am very excited about Amari!

I have begged and hoped for a slot WR like Amari for 3 or 4 years now. Amari and Tonyan in the middle of the field....wow! Throw in AJ's coming out of the backfield. If Love is the starting QB this will be exactly what he needs to be successful his first year as the Packer starting QB.

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Hematite's picture

July 28, 2021 at 10:59 am

I'm excited to see Amari Rodgers on the field.
I think he is going to be an exciting player to watch.
Having Cobb as his "personal coach" is going to pay dividends in years to come.

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