In an effort to repair what may be irreparable, the Green Bay Packers purportedly extended to Aaron Rodgers the most expensive olive branch in NFL history. The superstar quarterback, severely disgruntled, said nay.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Tuesday that Rodgers earlier this offseason declined a two-year contract offer which would have made him the highest-paid player in football, presumably surpassing Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes.
"Rodgers declined the offer, proof it’s not about the money," Schefter noted.
The impetus for Rodgers' unhappiness, if not money, remains unclear. Speculation has varied from last year's first-round selection of QB Jordan Love to the leadership of Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst, whom Rodgers reportedly disparaged in group text messages with teammates — and whom Rodgers wants fired, according to another rumor.
The cavalcade of hearsay has led to persistent claims that Rodgers' desire is to be traded, with the Denver Broncos emerging as his preferred destination. Failing a one-way ticket out of Titletown, the reigning league MVP has threatened to skip the 2021 season or walk away from the game altogether.
Rodgers, 37, signed a four-year, $134 million extension with Green Bay in 2018. Among active QBs, his pact ranks eighth in total value and total guarantees ($98.2 million) and sixth in average annual value ($33.5 million). He's scheduled to earn $14.7 million in base salary for the upcoming campaign, only $6.8 million of which is guaranteed.
Mahomes leads the NFL across the board financially, having inked a record-shattering 10-year deal worth up to $503 million — or $45 million per year — with $141 million in guaranteed cash.
As Pro Football Talk points out, Schefter's bombshell isn't much of a bombshell. The Athletic's Bob McGinn reported in early May the Packers floated to Rodgers a market-resetting contract proposal shortly after the 2020 season concluded.
However, Rodgers' unwillingness to accept that proposal suggests Schefter is correct in concluding there's a more nefarious issue at play — an issue which could lead to a bitter divorce in the days, weeks, or months ahead.
"The Packers offering Aaron Rodgers more money, more years, more guarantees, whatever doesn't really change things," former Packers VP Andrew Brandt tweeted Tuesday. "Those upgrades will all transfer to the new team upon a trade, which I think will happen...in 2022."
Follow Zack on Twitter @KelbermanNFL
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