Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst was noncommittal about quarterback Aaron Rodgers returning for the 2023 season when addressing the media on Tuesday at the NFL combine in Indianapolis. He said all options are the table until he speaks with Rodgers.
"We want what's best for the Green Bay Packers, what's best for Aaron," Gutekunst said. "So we'll get to that once those conversations happen."
Gutekunst revealed that his only communication with Rodgers since a season ending meeting nearly two months ago has been a few text exchanges.
Rodgers went on a darkness retreat originally scheduled to be four days last week to contemplate whether he wants to retire, return to the Packers or seek a trade. He reiterated he wouldn't hold the Packers hostage by dragging out his decision during an interview on the Marcus Aubrey Podcast. Ideally, the Packers will know Rodgers' intentions prior to March 15 when free agency begins.
Conventional wisdom suggests retirement is the least likely option because Rodgers would be walking away from a fully guaranteed $59.465 million. He would also be overshadowed if in the same Hall of Fame class as Tom Brady, who recently retired.
Rodgers became the NFL's first $50 million per year player last March once he decided he wanted to remain with the Packers rather than try to force a trade. The contract is widely considered to be $150.815 million over three years, although there are two additional below-market years (2025 and 2026) in the deal.
The Packers used one of the NFL's more complex contract structures with Rodgers. The deal has the seldom used double option bonus structure.
Initially, Rodgers' 2023 base salary is a fully guaranteed $59.465 million. A $58.3 million payment is required to exercise an option for Rodgers' 2025 contract year worth $20.9 million to drop his 2023 base salary to a fully guaranteed $1.165 million. Rodgers is scheduled to make $59.515 million in 2023. The window to exercise this option is the first day of the 2023 league year (March 15) until a day before Green Bay's first 2023 regular season game in September.