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What did Aaron Rodgers really get from the Packers?

Our long regional nightmare is over. Aaron Rodgers is back. And at a time when some are twisting themselves in knots to characterize this as some sort of a major win for Rodgers, it’s not. It’s definitely not.

Make no mistake about it. Rodgers caved. Rodgers folded. Rodgers surrendered.

Once the restructured deal between the Packers and Rodgers becomes official, the Packers get their franchise quarterback. Rodgers gets (checks notes) the 2023 season of his current deal removed.

That’s it. That’s all he’s getting that he wasn’t already entitled to receive. Sure, they’ll convert a large chunk of his 2021 salary of $14.6 million into a guaranteed payment. That’s something the Packers automatically could have done in March, and which they would have done if he wasn’t making noise behind the scenes about wanting out. Besides, the guarantee means nothing. It’s not like they were going to cut him; he was getting that $14.6 million this year simply by showing up.

This vague, non-binding notion that the Packers will take another look at the situation after 2021 means nothing. The Packers ultimately will do whatever the Packers (a corporation, not a family-owned business) deem to be in their best interests. If the Packers decide not to let Rodgers go, they don’t have to. Also, unless this new agreement waives the ability to recover the $11.5 million in signing bonus he earns by playing in 2022, the Packers will have that leverage if he refuses to show up a year from now.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who broke the news of the deal between Rodgers and the Packers (and who recently had insisted that Rodgers is done with the Packers), tweeted repeatedly about “concessions” by the Packers when, in reality, the only concession came from wiping out the final season of the contract, three seasons from now. Schefter’s final tweet on the subject says that Rodgers has secured “the freedom to decide where he wants to play in 2022.”

But, again, he hasn’t secured that. The contract still runs through 2022. His freedom comes in 2023, unless Green Bay Packers, Inc. chooses to give it to him before then.

So why the mischaracterization of this deal as some sort of a win for Rodgers? Well,it’s probably hard to get a scoop like this without first agreeing to make it look like a victory Rodgers, even if it isn’t.

After everything that’s happened over the past three months, at the end of the day all it took to get him back was wiping out the 2023 season? And spare me the “they’ve made promises” nonsense. This is business. Any verbal guarantees Rodgers received as to 2021 or 2022 aren’t worth the paper they’re not printed on.

Bottom line? It’s a huge win for the Packers, and it’s also a big win for the cloud-shouting, get-off-my-lawn-yelling old-school football types who think the NFL is becoming like the NBA. Rodgers had a chance to further blur the lines between the two leagues, but as he dove for the goal line, he fumbled the ball through the end zone.

Or, to put it in terms Rodgers may better appreciate, he took one of the strongest stands that any elite NFL player ever has taken against his team, and at the end of the day he performed like Cliff Clavin on Jeopardy!