It feels like every year we are talking about Aaron Rodgers’ contract having changed in some way or the other, and 2023 is no different. After being traded to the New York Jets, Rodgers agreed to a new deal that was seen as being very team-friendly. Let’s take a look at the details of Rodgers’ new contract.
Aaron Rodgers’ Contract Details and Bonuses
Rodgers’ contract with the Jets works out as a three-year deal worth $112.5 million. He received a $35 million signing bonus, with a $35 million option bonus in 2024. There is a $50,000 workout bonus in 2023 and then a total of $42.5 million in salary.
Of that $112.5 million, $75 million is guaranteed. Included in that is his signing bonus and salary in 2023 and 2024. The only money in the deal not guaranteed is the $37.5 million salary owed to him in 2025. However, the way the deal is set up makes it hard for the Jets to cut bait before that salary is due.
While the deal is seen as a three-year contract, it is actually a five-year deal with two void years. When the option bonus is exercised, a third-void year will be added. This allows the Jets to spread the prorated bonus money across the full five years at $7 million per year for each bonus.
By spreading that money across five years each time, it saves nearly $5 million in cap space this year and close to $10 million in both 2024 and 2025. However, it does mean that if the Jets allow Rodgers’ contract to void in 2026, he will leave behind $35 million in dead money.
Rodgers’ salary cap numbers break down as follows over the next four years:
- 2023: $8.889 million
- 2024: $17.161 million
- 2025: $51.5 million
- 2026: $35 million
Those final two years mean that Rodgers will have leverage in 2025 to try and get a new deal. He will be 42 by then, but with the prospect of $86.5 million hanging over the Jets across two years, they may very well be willing to offer him another deal.
The signing and option bonuses mean it will be close to impossible for the Jets to move on. They would have $66.161 million in dead money if they moved on ahead of 2024. There would then be $49 million in dead money if they released him in 2025. Although, that would represent a saving of $2.5 million from his cap number.
Ultimately, the decision for the Jets in 2025 will likely be the following:
- Extend Rodgers’ contract, pushing the salary cap pain into the future.
- Release him in 2025, saving $37.5 million in cash, but having him count $49 million against the salary cap.
- Play out the deal at a cost of $51.5 million in 2025, with a further dead money hit of $35 million in 2026.
What Salary Cap Implications Did Rodgers Leave in Green Bay?
With Rodgers having been traded to the Jets before June 1, all of the prorated money on his contract accelerated onto the Packers’ cap in 2023.
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That meant Rodgers’ dead money hit on the Packers was $40.314 million for the 2023 season. The QB is counting for 17.78% of the Packers’ cap in 2023, despite playing for the Jets this year.