This morning, ESPN scoophound Adam Schefter tweeted a nonscoop about the impasse between the Packers and Aaron Rodgers:
Well, this development sounds meaningful … as long as you turn off your brain, like Schefter appears easily able to do every time he needs to launder something for a source. (And just take a guess who that appeased source is in this case; I bet you’ll nail it!)
First off, it’s not actually new news that Green Bay offered Rodgers a deal that would make him the highest-paid player in the NFL (ostensibly, anyway; the next big contract that actually pays out 100 percent of its announced figure will be the first). As PFT pointed out, this offer was reported two months ago.
Secondly: tell us the contract details, Adam. You’ve been doing this long enough—and so have I—to know that announced NFL contract numbers and length can be fully fictional. They have unreachable incentives. Or they have so much non-guaranteed money that the team can walk away from them at any time. Or they literally just self-void. You can report that the Packers’ offer is for five years, and for a record amount of money, but there’s no reason to think either of those things are true in reality without knowing the details. So give it, Adam.
Lastly, and this is really the only thing that matters here, “proof it’s not about the money” is a perfectly numbnuts faux-authoritative Schefter phrase, but it’s not totally wrong. Rodgers has a number of issues with the Packers—he genuinely dislikes GM Brian Gutekunst, and he’s still sore over the team drafting his eventual replacement in Jordan Love without telling him first—but it’s a fairly open secret that the actual beef here is about guarantees.
Despite what his current contract (or the latest offer) might promise, Rodgers, like many other NFL superstars, is functionally on a year-to-year deal, where the Packers can cut him at any time with minimal penalties. But Rodgers wants a contract with both the terms and the structure that makes it an actual multi-year deal, that actually guarantees they can’t just move on from him whenever they want. A pro-Rodgers source might report this along the lines of “he wants to retire a Packer” and that wouldn’t be inaccurate. But it’s been longtime Packers policy not to offer big guarantees beyond a signing bonus, and you know the front office does not want to abandon that practice for a 37-year-old who could run out of gas at any time. I’m not saying it’d be smart for Green Bay to meet Rodgers’s demands—who knows what the next couple of years will mean for his performance—but they can’t say he hasn’t made clear what it’ll take to keep him. If only Schefter could be as clear about what’s actually going on.