Why Rodgers-49ers union doesn't add up despite Jets uncertainty


The longer quarterback Aaron Rodgers goes without his 2023 team becoming official, the more speculation is bound to circulate.

The New York Jets and Rodgers have appeared to be heading toward a union for several weeks. The only thing that has delayed the process is the Green Bay Packers signing off on the compensation from the Jets to make the trade official.

Last week, Jets general manager Joe Douglas assured fans gathered at a function by saying, “He’s going to be here.” Other members of the Jets organization expressed optimism at the NFL Annual Meeting that a deal was only a matter of time.

Still, until Rodgers is a member of the Jets and the Packers officially turn the page to 24-year-old quarterback Jordan Love, the door remains ajar for other teams to enter the mix.

What about the 49ers?

That’s not likely.

There are multiple factors that would suggest the 49ers are not interested in paying the price of doing business with Rodgers and the Packers.

First, Rodgers’ contract calls for him to make $59.5 million in guaranteed money this season.

The 49ers are near the bottom of the NFL in salary cap space with just $3.839 million available, per the NFL players union.

Currently, the 49ers’ three quarterbacks -- Trey Lance, Brock Purdy and Sam Darnold -- account for a total of just $14 million in salary-cap dollars.

"We've got three quarterbacks we're pretty good with right now, and we're pretty set with how we've built our roster salary cap-wise,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said recently at the NFL Annual Meeting.

Shanahan’s statement came when the subject of Baltimore franchise player Lamar Jackson was broached.

Still, the reasoning should be the same. Jackson is 26. Rodgers, a native of Chico who played at Cal, will turn 40 this season.

Rodgers, a four-time league MVP, had statistically his worst season in his 15 years since taking over for Brett Favre as the Packers' starter.

The relatively low cap number the 49ers have budgeted for their quarterbacks room enabled the club to strike at the beginning of free agency to sign Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave to a four-year, $84 million contract.

The 49ers have also devoted top dollar to retain such players as Christian McCaffrey, Kyle Juszczyk, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Trent Williams, Arik Armstead, Fred Warner, Dre Greenlaw and Charvarius Ward. San Francisco soon will be looking to extend defensive end Nick Bosa and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk to lucrative long-term contracts, too.

Keeping the roster so strong likely would not be possible if the 49ers were to spend big right now at the quarterback position.

Per reports, the Packers are looking for a first-round draft pick from the Jets to complete the trade. The Jets have not budged. Of course, a first-round pick is not an option for the 49ers, who do not have a first- or second-round selection in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft.

RELATED: NFL mock draft: Maiocco's predictions for 49ers' first six picks

San Francisco's draft does not begin until the back of the third round with choices scheduled at Nos. 99, 101 and 102 overall.

There is enough uncertainty about Rodgers’ future that both teams want to be covered.

The Jets want some form of insurance with a conditional pick if Rodgers decides to retire after the 2023 season. And the Packers want more compensation in a trade if Rodgers opts to continue playing in 2024.

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