FLORHAM PARK, NJ — Aaron Rodgers has done a solid service for his new team, restructuring his massive contract and allowing the New York Jets to execute the blockbuster trade without having to take significant steps to stay under the salary cap.
Prior to the trade, Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers were converting a $58.3 million option bonus payable in 2023 to a 2024 base salary, a source told ESPN’s Dan Graziano. As a result, he’s making just $1.165 million this season — the minimum base salary. This is also its upper limit.
Under his previous contract — last year’s three-year, $150 million extension — the Jets would have inherited a $15.8 million cap. That’s relatively small for a player of his caliber, but it would have put the Jets millions of dollars over the cap.
By deferring the $58.3 million option bonus to next year — the bonus is fully guaranteed — Rodgers’ compensation for 2024 increases to $107.55 million. That consists of an original $47 million option bonus, plus $1.21 million minimum wage, plus this year’s $58.3 million bonus.
Once the Jets exercise the $47 million option bonus, they can spread the cap hit over the remainder of the contract, which runs through 2027. You could add an empty year to spread it out over five, lowering the cap fees. If they do nothing but collect the $47 million option bonus, his 2024 cap hit would be $71.26 million.
Jets and Rodgers agent David Dunn is already in talks to restructure the deal again, Rodgers confirmed after Wednesday’s news conference. Chances are he’ll have a new deal by the time training camp begins.
Rodgers, 39, hasn’t committed to playing in 2024 but he has strongly indicated he plans to do so, saying: “They definitely gave up some picks for me to be here so this isn’t like one and done in my mind.”
The compensation package included a 2023 second-round pick and a 2024 conditional 2nd-rounder who upgrades to a 1st-rounder if he plays at least 65% of offensive snaps.
For now, however, the placeholder deal allows the Jets to sign draft picks and pursue free agents. They’re under the $7.4 million cap, according to NFLPA data. On Wednesday, they created about $3.5 million in space by tweaking John Franklin-Myers’ contract on the defensive end, a source told ESPN’s Field Yates.
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