Aaron Rodgers has been at odds with the Green Bay Packers for nearly the entire offseason, and at some point, it seems that the Packers tried to fix the problem with their starting quarterback by offering him a lot of money.
According to The Athletic, the Packers got so desperate to fix things with Rodgers that they offered to make him the NFL's highest paid quarterback. The report doesn't say when the offer came, but only that it happened in "recent months." In the end, the deal didn't happen because the "overtures were turned aside" by the reigning NFL MVP.
If the Packers did indeed offer to make Rodgers the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL, that means they were willing to give him more than $45 million per year, which would be a huge raise over the $21.5 million that Rodgers is due to make this year ($14.7 million salary plus $6.8 million roster bonus) The current title of highest-paid QB belongs to Patrick Mahomes, who signed a 10-year, $450 million extension in July.
Pick Six Newsletter
Crafted By The Best NFL Experts
Get the day's big stories + fun stuff you love like mock drafts, picks and power rankings.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Of course, even if the Packers did make that offer, one thing that's not clear is what the length of the deal would have been. If he was offered a contract that would have made him the highest-paid QB in 2021, but offered no security beyond that, then Rodgers likely said no because he's made it clear he's not going to sign any sort of one-year deal.
There have been reports since late January that Rodgers wanted the team to give him a new contract that would essentially guarantee he would keep the starting quarterback job beyond 2021. As things currently stand, Rodgers' deal is constructed in such a way that the Packers could easily get rid of him after the 2021 season (The Packers would pick up roughly $22 million in cap space if they cut him after the upcoming season).
The Packers front office has been asked multiple times about giving Rodgers a new deal this offseason and each time, they've danced around the question. Back in late January, here's what CEO Mark Murphy had to say when asked about Rodgers contract request.
"We're not idiots," Murphy said. "Aaron Rodgers will be back."
That answer isn't aging so well.
Around the same time, general manager Brian Gutekunst said the team was excited to have Rodgers on the team for "years to come."
"We're really excited not only for next year but the years to come," Gutekunst said in February.
After the draft was over, Murphy publicly admitted that the Packers were working through an issue with Rodgers, but he also added that he envisioned the reigning MVP being the team's quarterback "in 2021 and beyond."
"This is an issue that we have been working on for several months," Murphy said in a statement on May 1. "Brian Gutekunst, Matt LaFleur and I have flown out on a number of occasions to meet with Aaron. We are very much aware of Aaron's concerns and have been working with him (and his agent Dave Dunn) to resolve them. We remain committed to Aaron in 2021 and beyond."
If anything, Rodgers is probably getting even more upset every time he hears Murphy or Gutekinst talk about his future. Both guys keep saying they want Rodgers around after 2021, but they haven't given him a contract offer that would suggest that. Basically, actions speak louder than words and right now, the Packers are all words.
Craving even more NFL coverage focusing on previews, recaps, news and analysis? Listen below and follow the Pick Six podcast for a daily dose of everything you need to follow pro football.
As for that monstrous offer reported by The Athletic, if it was a multiyear deal that came in at $45 million per season and Rodgers still turned it down, then you can go ahead and assume he won't be returning to Green Bay, because that would mean this isn't about money.
Rodgers has kept pretty quiet this offseason, but he did talk to one of his old teammates recently. Former Packers fullback John Kuhn does see a way where this could end with Rodgers returning to Green Bay, but it's going to take a multiyear contract.
"I truly believe Aaron wants to come back to Green Bay," Kuhn said this week on CBS Sports Radio. "But he doesn't want to do it on a lame-duck contract which, even though there's three years on his contract if you really look at the terms of it, it pretty much sets up for a clean break at the end of the 2021 season for the Packers himself, considering that Jordan Love is on a rookie salary. So I think that he wants more insurance that he's going to be a long-term starting-quarterback option for the Green Bay Packers and that I believe is something that would intrigue him to make amends with the team and come back this season. He said multiple times on several different outlets that he plans to play into his 40s and he really wants to do it in Green Bay."
If Kuhn is correct, the Packers can fix their problems by offering Rodgers a huge contract that will keep them tied to him for the next two or three seasons. However, it's also possible that every bridge has already been burned in this negotiation and that there's no way Rodgers will be returning to Green Bay.