Aaron Rodgers and his Green Bay Packers are set to open their regular season Sunday against the conference-rival New Orleans Saints.
It could very well be Rodgers’ final regular-season opener as a member of the Packers after drama defined his relationship with the organization throughout the past several months.
The backdrop here is a Denver Broncos team that had shown a ton of interest in acquiring the reigning NFL MVP during the offseason.
According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, Denver plans to make a big push for Aaron Rodgers once the 2021 campaign comes to a conclusion.
“Things are good now with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, going along fine. However, in this new contract that he negotiated to get back to training camp, they did agree to look at trade options after the season,” Rapoport reported on Sunday. “I’m told that the Denver Broncos, who would have been interested this past offseason, remain interested and could try to trade for Rodgers and make a substantial offer after this season. They have not yet committed to a long-term quarterback.”
Aaron Rodgers contract situation
As Rapoport noted, Rodgers and his Packers came to terms on a restructured contract late in the offseason. It prevented a holdout on the part of the quarterback. It also voided his current contract after the 2022 NFL season and enables the future Hall of Famer to seek a trade.
Rodgers, 37, is set to earn a base salary of $26.47 million in 2022. While any new team would likely be required to extend him, that cap figure is pretty darn solid for quarterbacks in the modern NFL. In fact, it would represent the 12th-highest figure among quarterbacks in the NFL, behind Jimmy Garoppolo.
With that said, the Packers would be taking on a pretty extensive dead cap hit ($20 million or so) by trading Rodgers. That complicates things to an extent.
Denver Broncos’ interest in Aaron Rodgers trade
It’s no surprise that Denver has been the team most linked to Rodgers. It opens up against the New York Giants on Sunday with veteran journeyman Teddy Bridgewater having beat out Drew Lock for the starting job. Objectively, Rodgers is much better than either option. It’s not even close.
Meanwhile, first-year general manager George Paton has a history with Aaron Rodgers dating back to his days in the Minnesota Vikings front office. As a former NFC North division rival, he knows first-hand what Rodgers can bring to the table.
Regardless, it does not look like Rodgers will be moved ahead of the November NFL trade deadline. How this season plays out in Green Bay will help dictate whether Sunday represents the quarterback’s final season opener as a member of the Packers.