GREEN BAY, Wis. — It’s now in writing that Aaron Rodgers will have a much easier time leaving the Green Bay Packers after this season, if he so chooses.
Rodgers on Thursday signed his reworked deal, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Among the concessions in the new contract:
• The 2023 year in his original contract is voided, making 2022 the final year on his contract.
• Forfeiture provisions were removed from the contract, preventing the Packers from pursuing prorated portions of Rodgers’ signing bonus.
That means Rodgers would not lose any of the signing bonus or roster bonus money he received this year (totaling more than $14 million), and after the 2021 season, the remaining $5.7 million in proration from his 2019 signing bonus also is no longer forfeitable.
No other financial changes were believed to have been made to the deal.
Rodgers reported to training camp on Tuesday and participated when practice opened Wednesday, all while progress was made on his contract. On Wednesday, Rodgers admitted he considered retirement and detailed his offseason-long standoff with the Packers. He also said he still isn’t sure what — if anything — will change.
He also said he was baffled why the Packers didn’t approach him about a new contract shortly after his MVP season that would not only reward him but help the team’s salary-cap situation.
“I think there’s ways of doing that through signing bonuses and stuff that can lessen the load, for sure,” Rodgers said Wednesday. “But there wasn’t a commitment past 2021. There was conversation about, that I know you guys were all talking about, about moving salary around through a restructure to open up some-cap space, for sure. Obviously, with the salary cap going down from the 190s to $182 million, I think everybody’s contract who had a contract basically got restructured in some way.
“It was more just the approach to not mention anything past 2021 made me feel like I wasn’t in the future plans, which, again, I get it, it’s a business and I’m not a victim here. I’ve made a ton of money here and I’ve been really fortunate to play a long time and to play here. At the same time, I’m still competitive and I still feel like I can play. I proved it last year, so I feel like making a commitment past the 2021 season was not a big deal and there are ways to do that. That wasn’t necessarily accomplished, and so that’s why we’re here.”
Rodgers also said he did not want to be a lame-duck quarterback, but this in effect sets it up that way.
“That’s a hard one for me because I never looked at it like that,” Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said before this deal was completed. “Obviously, at the moment, he’s got three years left on his contract, so we certainly don’t look at it as a lame duck. We may alter that, but even at that stage, it’s not going to be a one-year contract. Never looked at it like that. As you guys know, in this business, everything’s year to year. I never looked at it as a lame-duck situation with any player.”
The reworked deal also did not appear to address any specific role or involvement that Rodgers would have in things like personnel decisions, although the Packers already conceded and traded for receiver Randall Cobb — at Rodgers’ request.
Although team president Mark Murphy has said the Packers are committed to Rodgers for “2021 and beyond,” all anyone has talked about this week during the opening of training camp is this season.
“Kind of how we felt and what we wanted for this 2021 team never really changed,” Gutekunst said this week.
“A lot of these issues [that Rodgers had with the team], obviously, we weren’t aware of them until this year, this offseason, and once we were, we certainly wanted to work with him, and it’s going to take both sides willing to do that to kind of work through them, and I think we’re committed to doing that.”