If the Bears are going to take back the NFC North and never give it back, they’re going to have to go through Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers, and Davante Adams. Rodgers announced Tuesday on Twitter that he will return to the Packers for the 2022 season, and team and player are said to be working on a four-year deal that may pay the reigning MVP as much as $50 million annually while lowering the Green Bay’s cap hit. No deal has been formalized as of yet.
“Hey everyone, just wanted to clear some things up,” Rodgers tweeted. “YES I will be playing with the Packers next year, however, reports about me signing a contract are inaccurate, as are the supposed terms of the contract I “signed”. I’m very excited to be back.”
Green Bay’s Super Bowl odds improved from 15-1 to 12-1 on Tuesday at Caesars Sportsbook, which also listed the Packers as the favorite in the NFC North. Any indifference or hard feelings that may have carried over from last season seem to have been cleared up. Rodgers listed those grievances last summer.
“I just want to be involved in conversations that affect my ability to do my job,” said Rodgers last August.
Green Bay GM Brian Gutekunst brought wide receiver Randall Cobb back to the team at Rodgers’ request, and it was the beginning of improved relations between the quarterback and the front office. In fact, throughout the season, Rodgers offered unprompted praise for moves Gutekunst made, including the signing of veterans such as cornerback Rasul Douglas and pass-rusher Whitney Mercilus. The Packers finished the season with a record of 13-4 before losing to the 49ers in the divisional round of this year’s playoffs.
After the season ended, Rodgers said he did not want to be part of a rebuilding process, so he must have received reassurances from Gutekunst that that would not be the case. It might even include bringing back Adams, who is an unrestricted free agent. Green Bay exercised their right to apply a franchise tag to their top wide receiver on Tuesday.
The Packers were going to exercise control of Adams, who was set to become a free agent next week, regardless of any agreement with Rodgers. By tagging the All-Pro, the Packers can continue to negotiate with Adams on a long-term deal. Gutekunst will have until July 15 to reach an agreement with the star receiver, but he now has the safety net of retaining Adams.
The franchise-tag total of about $20.1 million for Adams will count on the Packers’ already overloaded salary cap as soon as free agency begins. Rodgers’s deal will have a significant impact, too, though it is expected it may cut Green Bay’s hit by as much as $20 million, or almost just enough to retain Adams. Green Bay is currently $29.8 million over the cap having already restructured the contracts of Aaron Jones, Kenny Clark, and David Bakhtiari.
Bears News & Notes
- The Bears let the franchise tag window close without any movement, which means Allen Robinson is unlikely to return.
- Ryan Poles now knows he will have at least $25.6 million in cap space heading into free agency next week. It’s very likely he’ll create more space by cutting a few overpriced veterans, with Eddie Goldman and Cody Whitehair the most likely cap casualties.
- The offensive line is an area of concern, but Poles believe he has value in players like Teven Jenkins and Larry Borom. That said, the newly-minted GM wants his offensive line to be quicker and lighter.
- An under-the-radar offensive lineman that may appeal to Chicago’s front office and coaching staff is red-shirt senior Cole Strange of Chattanooga.
- The Bears also want to surround second-year quarterback Justin Fields with the right tools to maximize his development.
- Poles said he intends to attack the second tier of free agency, and these five veterans may appeal to the first-year GM.
- Expect assistant GM Ian Cunningham to play a big role in helping construct Chicago’s roster.
- Tight end Jesper Horsted, offensive lineman Sam Mustipher, and offensive lineman Lachavious Simmons were all re-signed as exclusive rights free agents.
- Head coach Matt Eberflus said that holdover players from last year’s team will enter camp with a clean slate. That should provide a little comfort to safety Eddie Jackson.
- The latest mock draft by Bryan Perez of The Draft Network has the Bears selecting NDSU WR Christian Watson at No. 39 overall.
- Check out the Bears Insider Big Board, which will be updated every Friday until this year’s draft on April 28.
There’s a Flag…On the Play
Bears fans tend to refer to the Packers quarterback as Karen Rodgers, and though his tweet about the pending contract probably wasn’t meant to upstage anybody, it didn’t help the cause.
Aaron Rodgers tweeting out that he didn't actually sign the contract yet after the Russ Wilson news came out was so predictable. He was upstaged and the attention wasn't on him for a second.
— Bobby Koch (@RekedFantasy) March 8, 2022
There’s a good chance the Packers will trade backup quarterback Jordan Love rather than have him sit behind Rodgers until his rookie contract expires. The Falcons and Commanders are the likeliest destinations.
NFL News & Notes
The league announced the salary cap will be set at $208.2 million per team for the 2022 season, an increase of approximately $26 million.
The Seahawks traded veteran QB Russell Wilson and a 4th-round pick to the Broncos in one of the biggest blockbusters of all time. Seattle will receive two first-round picks, two second-round picks, a fifth-round pick, QB Drew Lock, DE Shelby Harris, and TE Noah Fant to Seattle for Wilson.
The Rams could be a team of interest for Wagner.
In addition to Adams, the following players received a franchise tag ahead of yesterday’s deadline: OT Orlando Brown (Chiefs), TE Mike Gesicki (Dolphins), TE David Njoku (Browns), S Jessie Bates III (Bengals), OT Cam Robinson (Jaguars), TE Dalton Schultz (Cowboys), and WR Chris Godwin (Buccaneers).
The NFL’s flagship website ranked its top 101 free agents after yesterday’s deadline to tag players.
Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust
- Wilson has been sacked 179 times since 2018, most in the NFL.
- Rodgers has won back-to-back MVP awards since the Packers drafted Love in 2020.
- 31 players ran a sub-4.40 40-yard dash at this year’s NFL combine, the most ever.
Taking a Knee
This is a great honor for The Grobber.
Friday is Les Grobstein Day in Chicago! What an incredible honor and testament to his impact. pic.twitter.com/jZhTrQiz5d
— Danny Parkins (@DannyParkins) March 9, 2022
From the Podium
- “What I’ve always loved [about the second tier of free agency] is … you’re going to have some players that, they’re motivated, they got a chip on their shoulder, and they want to get back into free agency and go at it again. So they play with a purpose. And I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s very hard to stay super motivated. You got to be a special human being to be in that first wave (of free agency) and keep going. You want your name etched in the stadium. That’s what kind of mentality you got to have. So I definitely think there’s a lot of good value down there, plus … the mentality comes with it.” – Poles
Running Out the Clock
That Was a Crazy Game of Poker (Live at Red Rocks) by O.A.R. – We are at the precipice of free agency, and it’s going to be interesting to see how Poles counters the latest moves in Green Bay.