While there weren’t any direct ramifications of Friday’s trades involving the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins, it doesn’t take a giant leap to spin it into good news for people who are fans of seeing Aaron Rodgers suit up for the Green Bay Packers.
The Packers front office has wrapped up contract maneuvers that will keep a large portion of the team’s core intact over the next few seasons, but much has been made of the fact that nothing has been done to alter Rodgers’ current contract situation, which runs through the 2023 season.
Whether that means that the Packers feel like they haven’t had to do anything on that front yet, as Packers beat writer Tom Silverstein suggests, or because they already did in 2019, there’s been plenty of speculation about Rodgers’ future in Green Bay. It has become exacerbated by the non-committal nature of the quarterback’s comments following another loss in the NFC Championship Game.
If Rodgers’ time in Green Bay is indeed coming to an end, he’d likely be most interested in a team that was capable of making a Super Bowl run, needed a quarterback and didn’t have a young quarterback like Jordan Love breathing down his neck.
The Las Vegas Raiders, New England Patriots and 49ers have been bandied about.
So how does Friday’s news come into play?
With the 49ers now holding the No. 3 selection in the 2021 draft, the consensus is that the team will pick a quarterback. Whether it’s Justin Fields, Trey Lance, Zach Wilson or someone else is irrelevant here — that player will be young and talented. And with Jimmy Garoppolo not moving anywhere — at least not yet — it wouldn’t present the most enticing situation for Rodgers to head to San Francisco.
The 49ers were one of the teams I worried might catch Rodgers’ eye, speaking as a Packers fan. The combination of playing for the team he had rooted for as a child, paired with one of the game’s best offensive minds in Kyle Shanahan, seemed like quite the combination for a potential final act as Rodgers hit his early 40s. With a probable No. 3 overall selection now in the fold, the chances of that pairing had to have decreased.
Let’s spin it even one step further and say that the 49ers do part ways with Jimmy G. The overwhelmingly popular landing spot for Garoppolo is back with Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. That reunion probably makes way too much sense actually to happen, but could that take the Patriots off the table for Rodgers’ swan song?
Were the chances of Rodgers going to San Francisco or New England ever realistic? It’s impossible to predict the future, but there are only a finite number of options if he were to leave Green Bay. A vast majority of those options weren’t ever going to be possible, whether due to a team not needing a quarterback any time soon (Kansas City, Buffalo), have a potential young stud (Chargers, Bengals, Jacksonville?) or weren’t going to be competitive enough to grab his attention (ahem, Detroit).
There are only 31 teams in the league not named the Green Bay Packers. While it would only take one to sign Rodgers, it would have had to be the right situation for him. And after Friday, a team like San Francisco becomes less of a threat to poach Rodgers for the end of his career.