Last week, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was adamant about the importance of a quarterback on a rookie contract and what it means to build a roster. It’s the reason the 49ers could sign free agents such as Charvarius Ward and Javon Hargrave, and why they’re capable of handing out massive extensions to their star players, such as the one Nick Bosa will receive this summer.
That’s not stopping the off-season rumor mill surrounding the 49ers. Why would it? How fun would that be? It’s surprising that it took until April for the organization to be linked to Kirk Cousins. Don’t you worry, there’s a new (old) name that surfaced Wednesday.
Three weeks ago, we all saw Aaron Rodgers state his “intention” was to play for the New York Jets in 2023. That came after Rodgers said he was “90 percent sure” he was going to retire before he went into his darkness retreat earlier in the offseason.
FS1’s Craig Carton reported Wednesday on The Carton Show with Mark Schlereth that San Francisco and Green Bay have had conversations about quarterback Rodgers.
Before we get into what was said, the reason Rodgers isn’t in New York yet is because the Jets and Packers still can’t finalize a deal. Yahoo! Sports Charles Robinson reported the Jets were willing to give up second round picks in 2023 and 2024, and Green Bay has to send back a conditional pick in ‘25 depending on whether Rodgers plays in ‘24 or not.
Circling back to what Carton said, the Niners trade package involves multiple third-round picks in this upcoming draft and a first-round pick in ‘24. San Francisco doesn’t have a pick in the first two rounds this season after trading for Trey Lance and Christian McCaffrey. The 49ers have 11 picks in the NFL Draft, with three from picks No. 99-102.
The 49ers are ready to pursue Aaron Rodgers if the Packers deal with the Jets falls through says @craigcartonlive pic.twitter.com/U4a9EEZsVS— The Carton Show (@TheCartonShow) April 4, 2023
Carton said, “the Jets are unaware that this third team has had conversations with the Green Bay Packers.”
Logic says this could be a leak from the Packers organization to either up or take the deal, “or else.” But why in the world would Green Bay send Rodgers to the best team in the NFC that just so happens to be the Green Bay’s playoff nemesis?
There’s also the salary cap. For as much gymnastics as the 49ers have done to stay under the cap, working out a deal with Rodgers is a stretch, even for San Francisco. His cap hit in ‘23 would be $15 million.
The money the team would owe him on his current contract comes to roughly $60 million. And the deal is built so, essentially, whoever has Rodgers ends up paying him a ton through 2026 when he turns 43. Rodgers cap numbers for the next three years:
2024 - $40.7M
2026 - $53.4M
That goes against everything Shanahan said, which is why it’s easy to believe the 49ers are being used as leverage to get a deal done.