It looks like this offseason could be a tumultuous one in Green Bay. After a 31-26 loss in the NFC Championship, quarterback Aaron Rodgers said, “A lot of guys’ futures, they’re uncertain. Myself included.” These comments came just after head coach Matt LaFleur decided to take Rodgers off the field on 4th and Goal down eight with just over two minutes left.
Almost anyone could have seen this coming after the Packers traded up in the first round to grab Jordan Love in the first round, serving as an in-house replacement for Rodgers, who immediately displayed his discontent with that pick.
After the NFC Championship debacle, it looks like the relationship between Rodgers and the front office might have reached its breaking point. CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora revealed that despite the Packers coming out and saying that they want to keep Rodgers in green and gold for years to come, many coaches and executives around the league are convinced that a “bitter divorce” is bound to happen this offseason.
We can sugarcoat statements all we want, but the Packers have had three decades of elite quarterback play between Rodgers and Brett Favre and only have two Super Bowls to show for it. They routinely tried to get away with using their quarterbacks to cover for subpar rosters while regularly failing to address team needs.
Everyone knew that the Packers needed a second wideout to pair with Davante Adams, but their front office opted not to draft a wideout in one of the deepest WR classes in recent history.
The Rodgers situation is almost parallel to what happened with Favre 13 years ago. After a 13-3 season with a home loss in the NFC Championship, the Pack’s longtime aging franchise quarterback expressed doubts about his future, while a first-round pick waited in the wings to replace him.
While I don’t see Rodgers ever lining up under center for the Vikings, his departure from Green Bay would have major repercussions on the Vikings and the NFC North.
With Rodgers’ potential departure, the Detroit Lions looking to move Matt Stafford, and the Chicago Bears being unlikely to re-sign former second overall pick Mitchell Trubisky; Cousins could be the last man standing in the division. What if Rodgers actually ends up in another jersey next year? The Packers would see a regression, and the impending loss of starting running back Aaron Jones only adds to the adversity for the young quarterback to overcome in his first season as a starter.
While the Packers traded up for Love, he was inactive for every game this season, serving as the third-string quarterback behind former UDFA Tim Boyle. It’s sporadic to see a first-round quarterback as a healthy scratch in every game of his rookie season, not even getting any action in blowouts. Reports indicated that Love was struggling to make routine NFL level passes in practice.
I am inclined to believe that if Rodgers left the division, it would immediately be up for grabs between the Bears and the Vikings. While the Bears made the postseason this year as the newly-introduced 7-seed, a turnover at quarterback could ruin any chance they would have for the division.
With Rodgers’ impending departure, the Vikings should take this as a chance to get aggressive in free agency and with trades. Winning the division once every four or five years shouldn’t satisfy any fan, and if the Packers are without a franchise quarterback for the first time in three decades, this is the perfect time for the Vikings to lock down the NFC North.
While they thought they were doing that with the Cousins signing after a 13-3 season, they should try to get aggressive and land a long-term franchise quarterback in Deshaun Watson to beat the Packers at their own game, putting a vice grip on the division for years to come.