Getty Images

It's not often that you see an NFL player willingly take a pay cut, but that's exactly what Aaron Rodgers did for the Jets on Thursday. In his new two-year deal, Rodgers will be making $33.7 million LESS than what he was scheduled to make under the terms of his old contract. 

Although it was surprising to see Rodgers take such a large pay cut, that might actually be the most surprising part of the situation and that's because the four-time MVP was apparently trying to work out a way to get paid without actually receiving any cash. 

If you're wondering how that would work, Pro Football Talk has the answer. According to PFT, Rodgers was trying to get ownership equity worked into his contract. If he had been able to do that, the Jets would have given him a small stake in the team that would have replaced some of the cash in his deal. 

It's not clear how the Jets felt about this proposal, because they never got a chance to respond. According to the Sports Business Journal, NFL owners actually voted just last week to put a ban on giving ownership equity to players or team employees. This new rule was passed on July 20, the same day that the owners approved the sale of the Commanders to Josh Harris

SBJ listed multiple reasons why the owners decided to implement this rule. On the players' end, the two biggest ones are: 

  • 1. Owners don't want players given equity because it could cause issues with the salary cap. 
  • 2. Not all NFL teams have the same ability to issue equity, which could put multiple teams at a disadvantage. 

As far as Rodgers goes, it seems that he was likely pushing for ownership equity in his contract, but he obviously had to give up on that after the NFL decided to ban it. It's most likely not a coincidence that Rodgers ended up signing his new deal less than a week after the new rule went into effect.