As you’re reading this, Aaron Rodgers presumably is locked in a dark room contemplating his future. Rodgers will be the first to tell you he’s not interested in attention. He will go on national platforms and speak in cryptic terms and drop hints in quick interviews on the golf course and do everything possible to get people talking about him, but remember, Aaron Rodgers isn’t interested in attention.
That aside, the Green Bay Packers and Rodgers have reached a crossroads. The Packers are in a position where they really need to start looking at the future and playing Rodgers certainly doesn’t do that. The contract the Packers agreed to gives Rodgers all the power in this situation and they are sitting around twiddling their thumbs waiting for Rodgers to crawl out of the darkness.
"The Green Bay Packers, @BobMcGinn has learned, have all but moved on from the longtime starter. They’re more confident than ever to start Jordan Love, too." Hell of a Friday over at Go Long. https://t.co/cXQ63JNOIF— Aaron Nagler (@AaronNagler) February 17, 2023
To nobody’s surprise, the Packers want to move on from Rodgers. They invested a first-round pick in Jordan Love three years ago, and he has thrown 83 career passes in the NFL. The Packers have to decide what to do with Love’s fifth-year option this offseason, and they almost certainly have to pick it up blind at this point and cross their fingers.
For the Packers, the best situation for them is for Rodgers to request a trade, Green Bay gets as much draft capital as they can for him, and they can commit to Love for 2023. If Love is atrocious, the Packers will be atrocious and be in a position to grab a quarterback in the 2024 draft and have one year of Love as a bridge QB with their future QB in tow. If Love plays decently, they can give him the 2024 season as well with the franchise tag in their back pocket if they are on the fence if he’s their future. If he plays great, they can extend him and not worry about the franchise tag and free agency scenario that teams like the New York Giants are dealing with this offseason.
Rodgers retiring is probably the next best option for the Packers. They wouldn’t get draft capital in a trade, but they would still be able to pivot to finding a new quarterback whether that’s Love or someone else and rebuilding the roster. The championship window in Green Bay is closed. The Packers know it. Aaron Rodgers knows it. But if Rodgers retires, he literally walks away from $60 million guaranteed to come his way. I don’t care how wealthy you are, that’s certainly something that Jeff Bezos couldn’t do, let alone Aaron Rodgers.
So if Rodgers emerges from the darkness and says that the tea or mushrooms or whatever it might be have spoken to him, and he must stay in Green Bay, that’s not ideal for the Packers. It’s not in the Packers' best interest for Rodgers to stay. The Packers are still in cap hell, and it’s not getting any better. If Rodgers wants to stay in Green Bay, they are going to continue to bleed talent, not add talent, and coming off at 8-9 year with a QB who’s going to be 40 in December, that doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Would they release Aaron Rodgers? Well, according to overthecap.com, that would leave them with $99 million in dead cap. Yes, you heard me, $99 million. If they do it post June-first? Don’t worry, that pushes the dead cap down to $75 million. So that’s not an option.
If they played hardball with Rodgers and told him they were playing Love anyway, and Rodgers called their bluff, could you imagine the pressure that puts on Love? Knowing that every interception, a top 5 QB of all-time is sitting on the bench waiting to come in and save the day while “Rodgers” chants bellow from the Lambeau Field bleachers? It could never happen.
If Rodgers stays, it’s the best scenario for the Chicago Bears. It sounds crazy. Every Bears fan (myself included) just wants Rodgers to go away. But if he stays for another year or two in Green Bay, that’s going to completely close the window on Jordan Love, leave the Packers stuck with a roster that isn’t good enough to compete for a championship, and continue to bleed talent as they pay Rodgers an arm and a leg to finish his career in Wisconsin.
I think most likely, we are going to see Aaron Rodgers traded this offseason. I know a lot of people think it’ll be the New York Jets, but I believe it will be the Las Vegas Raiders. I can’t see the Raiders giving up the seventh overall pick for Rodgers, but I could see Rodgers being dealt for a second-round pick and some sort of conditional 2024 pick that could be a first or second-rounder, depending on certain thresholds that Rodgers would have to reach.
I never thought I would see the day where the best-case scenario for Bears fans is for Aaron Rodgers to stay in Green Bay, and yes, that could result in another loss or two at the hands of Rodgers, but long-term, seeing Rodgers completely stunt the Packers rebuild would be a wonderful thing to watch while Justin Fields emerges as a top three quarterback in the NFC.
.@spotrac Co-Founder Michael Ginnitti talked with our @TayDoll1010xl & @dylanry697 about some #Bears salary cap stuff, and the discussion turned to Aaron Rodgers' contract for a moment.— Windy City Gridiron (@WCGridiron) February 18, 2023
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