The Green Bay Packers have made a significant long-term contract offer to Aaron Rodgers that would alter the quarterback market, a source told ESPN.
Terms of a potential new contract could always change, but a three- or four-year deal would help Green Bay’s salary-cap situation while giving Rodgers, 38, contractual clarity well into his 40s.
Green Bay is more than $27 million over the cap just nine days before the start of the new league year. The Packers were expected to offer Rodgers a new deal at some point this offseason, with the dual intention of getting under the salary cap and also providing market-level compensation for the two-time reigning league MVP.
The Broncos also are lurking as a potential contender to land Rodgers, with a source telling ESPN that Denver is willing to compete to acquire him either through a new contract or draft-pick compensation.
Rodgers is weighing his options but is expected to make a decision soon about his future in the NFL. He previously hinted on “The Pat McAfee Show” that he’d like to make his decision by the franchise tender deadline Tuesday, when the Packers need to decide whether to use the tag on star wide receiver Davante Adams.
Whatever Rodgers decides will create additional cap space. If he doesn’t play in Green Bay, the Packers would get between $19.3 million and $26.9 million in salary-cap savings, depending on the timing of the decision.
Rodgers has one year left on his deal and would count $46.1 million against the cap, a number that will no doubt be lowered by an extension should he decide to return. To that end, Packers vice president of football operations Russ Ball has been engaged in contract talks with Rodgers’ agent, David Dunn.
Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes currently is the NFL’s highest-paid quarterback, with a $450 million deal that has an average annual value of $45 million. Buffalo’s Josh Allen is the league’s second-highest-paid quarterback, both in terms of total value (over $258 million) and average annual value ($43.006 million).
Atlanta’s Matt Ryan is the league’s only player with a cap hit larger than Rodgers’. His current deal with the Falcons counts $48.7 million against the cap.
Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said last week that Green Bay has not received any trade offers for Rodgers, emphasizing that “not a single person” has called to inquire about the star quarterback’s availability.
One source stressed to ESPN that the Packers would want so much in compensation — top draft picks and key young players — that a trade could be difficult for the team acquiring Rodgers to execute.
League sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter last week that the Packers had not engaged in any trade scenarios regarding Rodgers and were awaiting his decision.
Multiple league executives believe the Steelers have at least inquired about Rodgers, but their level of involvement is still unclear.
The Packers began the offseason nearly $50 million over the salary cap, and that doesn’t include the contracts of Adams, linebacker De’Vondre Campbell and cornerback Rasul Douglas.
Thanks to renegotiations with left tackle David Bakhtiari, defensive tackle Kenny Clark and running back Aaron Jones, they’re now $27.5 million over the cap, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
The Packers almost certainly will use the franchise tag on Adams if a long-term deal isn’t completed by the 4 pm ET deadline Tuesday. Green Bay wants to retain Adams whether Rodgers returns or not.
ESPN’s Rob Demovsky contributed to this report.