As Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers continues to feign general ignorance as to the necessity of a decision about his future, there’s a very specific path he potentially could take.
With so much speculation on the possibility of Rodgers following Brett Favre’s footsteps to the Jets, Rodgers could go full Favre one other way.
Rodgers could retire, and then he could unretire later.
While no one knows what Rodgers will do, the current posture of his situation is consistent with the possibility that he’d walk away from the Packers now — and that he’d do an about-face at a time that would force the team to either release him or to trade him to a team other than the Jets or the Raiders, the two franchises that have been most closely tied to him.
If the Packers don’t want Rodgers to stay (and long-time Packers reporter Bob McGinn has said in no uncertain terms that they’re ready to pivot to Jordan Love) but if they’re also resisting the possibility of trading him to the team of his choosing (whichever it may be), this would be one way for Rodgers to take control of the situation.
Rodgers has a fully-guaranteed $58.3 million option bonus that much be exercised between March 17 and Week One of the regular season. If he’d retire before the window opens and if he’d unretire before that window closes, the Packers would be on the clock, strapped with the obligation to pay him either the option bonus or owe that same amount in base salary for 2023.
When Favre unretired in 2008, the Packers were able to carry his $12 million compensation package under the salary cap. That allowed the team to take its time in trading him out of the conference. If Rodgers would suddenly return in late July, like Favre did, the Packers would have to immediately get in compliance with the cap, if Rodgers’s total pay of $59.465 million for 2023 would put them over the top.