The Aaron Rodgers situation in Green Bay may now be at a simmer, but a rolling boil is on the horizon.
The Packers go about their business differently than any other team in the NFL. Why should their handling of a reigning MVP and former Super Bowl champion be any different?
The story of the disgruntled quarterback has been a leading headline of the NFL offseason, as other star quarterbacks have made waves of their own. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson went on Dan Patrick’s radio show in February and voiced his displeasure with the organization, which led to reports of his desire for a trade, while Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson demanded a trade of his own in the offseason. And while Rodgers hasn’t gone so far as demanding a trade from Green Bay, the rumor mill has been swirling ever since the Packers loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game.
All good things come to an end. Peyton Manning was cut by the Indianapolis Colts after 14 seasons before heading to Denver where he won a second Super Bowl with the Broncos. Tom Brady’s illustrious run with the New England Patriots came to an abrupt end this past offseason before signing with the Buccaneers and winning his seventh Super Bowl.
Rodgers is heading toward a similar story.
Packers legend Charles Woodson, in an interview on CBS Radio, predicted a nasty divorce in the future:
I think it could be one of those situations where it gets nasty at some point, somehow in the back and forth between the Packers and Aaron’s agents and then before you know it somehow the thing gets blown up. I mean, I certainly hope that doesn’t happen, but you know where there’s smoke there’s fire.
The Packers of course were going to say, ‘we’re looking for the best player available, and that wasn’t about looking to the future, but this is looking to the future.’ I know that (Rodgers) had to be thinking, ‘Bring me somebody in here that’s gonna help me immediately, you know not somebody that has to sit behind me for the next two or three years or whatever it is.’ So I think he ends up ending his career in another place.
You think about over the years the great players that have played most of their careers in one place and then gone on to play somewhere else. Emmit Smith, Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, myself — I left twice. At some point, the team is gonna start looking to the future.
The writing has been on the wall ever since Green Bay traded up in the 2020 draft to acquire Utah State QB Jordan Love. In drafting Love, the Packers signaled that the Rodgers era is coming to a close sooner rather than later. NFL teams don’t draft quarterbacks in the first round without giving them a fair shot to win the job early on in their careers.
Rodgers has also made it clear that he wants a new contract, leaving the Packers the choice of ponying up, in the process sacrificing a massive portion of their salary cap, or moving on after next season, freeing up between $22 million and $25 million in cap space. Green Bay has had multiple opportunities to show Rodgers they are committed to him for the foreseeable future, but the organization has been reluctant to diffuse the situation by restructuring his contract.
Team president Mark Murphy declined to provide any assurances on Rodgers’ future when asked in March.
“I can’t really get into specific players,” Murphy said according to ESPN. “We’ve been able to create room with others.”
Rodgers is still at the height of his powers. He’s coming off an MVP season in which he threw for 4,299 yards and a career best 48 touchdowns while taking Green Bay to within one game of the Super Bowl. He has many quality years left in the league.
The next few weeks should be telling. The 2021 NFL Draft is two weeks away and if the Packers are serious about moving on from Rodgers, now would be the time to collect draft capital.
The San Francisco 49ers are the logical landing spot for the three-time MVP. Rodgers is from Chico, CA and the 49ers seem to be in the market for a fresh look at quarterback. They gave up three first round draft picks in order to move up in April’s draft and team management has made it clear they plan on using the pick on a quarterback. The move all but ends speculation on Jimmy Garoppolo being the long-term answer at the position.
So, the 49ers have a decision to make.
They can draft a quarterback at three (Mac Jones?) and hope he becomes the face of the franchise, or they can trade the pick (and likely a slew of others) and Garoppolo for Rodgers in order to immediately compete for a Super Bowl.
The decision seems obvious from the 49ers perspective. What isn’t obvious is when Rodgers and the Packers end the charade and make a clean split.
The breakup is coming. It’s just a matter of when.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.