NFL Rumors: Latest on Aaron Rodgers Contract, T.Y. Hilton, More
The Green Bay Packers have been somewhat quiet in free agency.
Fresh off a second consecutive NFC Championship berth, they have been insistent on retaining offensive weapons. They re-signed star running back Aaron Jones and placed a a second-round tender on tight end Robert Tonyan.
But the Packers have not done a whole lot else in terms of adding to the roster other than reportedly bringing back cornerback Kevin King, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. One of the reasons for the holdup, aside from salary-cap inflexibility, could be Aaron Rodgers' contract.
Here are some of the latest rumors from around the NFL, including Green Bay's efforts to restructure the veteran quarterback's deal.
Rodgers Restructure on Hold
Mike Silver of NFL Network reported Monday the Packers were working to restructure Rodgers' contract to free up some cap space.
However, Silver also cautioned an eventual restructure could reveal how the franchise feels about the 2020 league MVP's future in Green Bay.
It seems the latter part is a potential sticking point in terms of the team's ability to orchestrate a restructure or extension with its star quarterback.
Rob Demovsky of ESPN reported the Packers did not change Rodgers' contract on Friday, paying his $6.8 million roster bonus. Demovsky added there was intrigue as to whether the option had been pushed back as the two sides worked on a new deal, but a source confirmed the option vested Friday as scheduled.
What this means exactly is still unclear, though there seems to be more tentativeness. Demovsky reported league sources have suggested the 37-year-old wants "assurances" he will still be under center beyond just the 2021 season. Green Bay could spread out the money by converting base salary into a signing bonus, much as the Atlanta Falcons did with Matt Ryan.
Yet, there appears to be hesitation in moving the money around. A source told Demovsky there was a possibility an extension or restructure could still be in the cards but hardly offered any assurances.
It is rather perplexing the Packers would not make such a commitment to Rodgers when he is coming off a career year, especially if it helped Green Bay in the immediate sense. This is a team that has lost back-to-back conference championship games. Shouldn't general manager Brian Gutekunst and Co. be doing everything they can to carve out cap space and improve the roster?
A Rodgers restructure could still get done, but there is no telling how the Packers choose to proceed.
Colts, Others Interested in Hilton
Veteran wide receiver T.Y. Hilton is one of the more accomplished free agents at his position. He continues to purvey his options on the market.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network told The Pat McAfee Show that the 31-year-old might yet return to Indianapolis. However, he noted there is no rush for the veteran to sign.
There was quite a bit of speculation last week suggesting Hilton was headed back to the Colts. Safety Kenny Moore lobbied for him to return after Indy re-signed running back Marlon Mack. Diana Russini of ESPN then noted the Colts "would like" to re-sign Hilton but added no contract had been finalized.
Will the Florida International product be back at his old stomping grounds in 2021?
Hilton made four Pro Bowls in nine seasons with the Colts. He has been a 1,000-yard receiver five different times, including in 2019.
However, the last couple seasons have been more of a struggle. He played just 10 games and averaged a career-low 11.1 yards per reception in 2019. He played in 15 games in 2020 but managed just 56 receptions for 762 yards. Still, the speedster is averaging 15.1 yards per reception for his career and remains capable of being a top receiving threat.
Plenty of teams still need receiving help. Hilton told Josina Anderson last week he plans to let teams do their "due diligence," though he also said Colts general manager Chris Ballard asked to have the chance to match any potential offer he received on the market.
The Hitch in Rudolph’s Giants Deal
The New York Giants believed they had a second tight end to pair with Evan Engram in former Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph, but the deal has hit a snag.
Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reported New York's medical staff believes the 31-year-old's foot could require surgery following a physical. He later added the deal wasn't yet dead but did need some hashing out.
Rudolph injured his foot in a Week 13 matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars and did not play the remainder of the season.
Garafolo reported the Giants struck an agreement with the two-time Pro Bowler on a two-year deal. He was coming off a season in which he averaged a career-high 11.9 receptions prior to sustaining the injury. He figured to give New York an added pass-catching threat with the Giants later signing former Detroit Lions star receiver Kenny Golladay.
However, the Rudolph-Giants partnership is seemingly up in the air. The medicals could play a major role in determining each party's next course of action.
All stats obtained via Pro Football Reference, unless otherwise noted.