“Why aren’t the Packers restructuring Aaron Rodgers‘ contract?”
“What if they don’t restructure Rodgers?”
“Could this be Rodgers’ last year in Green Bay?”
These questions have continued swirling this offseason, as the Green Bay Packers restructured many contracts — including David Bakhtiari, Za’Darius Smith, Adrian Amos, and Preston Smith. But they have gusted into a tempest because the front office hasn’t touched No. 12’s deal.
Doing so would free up a solid chunk of cap space for the offseason, but it would also commit the Packers to Rodgers long term. Not doing so leaves questions and is cause for much doubt.
Back in late January, Mark Murphy made it sound as though not rolling with Aaron Rodgers going forward was as likely as the government admitting aliens are real: impossible!
He sang a different tune on Monday.
Oh, how a couple of months can change perspective. Remember when the San Francisco 49ers said Jimmy Garoppolo was their franchise quarterback moving forward, then they traded for the No. 3 overall pick in the draft? Yeah, a lot can change.
Folks, it’s time to call a spade a spade. It’s not embellishing the situation. It’s not overreacting or exaggerating. If the Green Bay Packers don’t restructure or rework Rodgers’ contract this offseason, 2021 will likely be his final season in the green and gold. That’s just the reality.
Coming off an MVP year, Rodgers likely seeks reassurance going forward, and he deserves it. Who wouldn’t want long-term backing after the season he just had? The Packers’ unwillingness to do so leads many to believe they are trying to balance the best of both worlds: maintain a title contender now but keep future options open. Going this route could easily cause a rift between Rodgers and the front office, and it would be nearly impossible to blame Rodgers.
Many will draw comparisons to the Brett Favre saga of 2008, but the two situations are vastly different.
Favre had waffled on retirement for years. Rodgers has said he wants to play into his 40s, never bringing up retirement. Once Favre did officially retire, the Packers had clearly moved on before Favre decided he wanted to come back. Mike McCarthy famously said, “The train has left the station.” Rodgers has never wanted to leave or demanded a trade.
So while both can accurately be described as Hall of Fame quarterbacks potentially on the move late in their careers, the comparisons stop there.
If Rodgers’ contract isn’t reworked, it’s hard to envision the team chemistry or the overall vibe of the squad being better than it was last year. It could be flat-out awkward if it drags on, with both the Packers and Rodgers knowing this is likely it. Green Bay’s front office has nobody else to blame but themselves.
When you trade up to draft a quarterback in the first round, you’re sending a clear message that you intend on giving that quarterback the keys to the franchise at some point. For Jordan Love, that may come sooner than expected.
It would be fairly unprecedented to trade a quarterback playing as well as Rodgers is, even considering his age. Before Love was drafted, it had almost become a foregone conclusion that Rodgers would retire in Green Bay — that the Packers would never let another franchise-savior quarterback play elsewhere. Now it’s in serious doubt.
Murphy’s deflections aren’t really surprising. His decision to not instill any sort of faith or confidence in Rodgers, let alone the fans, is worrisome. He could’ve gone a lot of different directions with the Rodgers questions today. And unless he’s totally naive, he had to know those questions were coming.
The quotes from Murphy today have sent Packers Twitter into a frenzy, as you would expect. But don’t mistake the outrage for exaggeration — this could very well be Aaron Rodgers’ last season in Green Bay.