Green Bay Packers

The Packers Run the Risk Of Being Complacent In Bringing Rodgers Back

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas (USA TODAY Sports)

Aaron Rodgers is signing a new deal with the Green Bay Packers.

I have long been comfortable with the notion that Rodgers would stick around. Despite all the media frenzies and smokescreens, no piece of evidence was ever leaked that offered any definitive suggestion that Rodgers wanted to pack his bags and head to, let’s say, Denver. All is well with the world in Green Bay, and Packers fans can sleep soundly at night knowing they will not have to endure a major changing of the guard.

Green Bay’s decision to retain Rodgers on a team-friendly contract works in conjunction with the team’s efforts to keep star receiver Davante Adams on board. Franchise-tagging Adams ensures that he will stick around for what stands to be the last couple years of Rodgers’ career, at least. That prolific offensive duo will have every opportunity to continue terrorizing the NFC North and any opposition that stands in their way.

The mere idea of these developments unfolding would have gone unheeded two years ago. It is incredible that Green Bay was able to retain its Hall of Fame quarterback, No. 1 running back in Aaron Jones, David Bakhtiari, and Adams to boot. More division titles are on the way, and the championship window remains wide open.

However, with this retention, the pressure on Rodgers to do something more than flame out in the NFC playoffs grows stronger. After last season’s humbling defeat to the San Francisco 49ers, Rodgers made a solid case for his legacy to be that of merely a great regular-season QB. Save for that magical title run following the 2010 season, Rodgers’ teams have found increasingly disappointing ways to tumble out of the postseason.

It wouldn’t be productive to dive back into the pain of each of those losses. The anguish of a fanbase is a relative concept. One needs to look no farther than the Los Angeles Lakers, who, despite being one of the most successful franchises in all of professional basketball, have their fans writhing on the ground in genuine agony with each subsequent loss. Packers fandom is, I imagine, much the same. The pain of consistently choking in the playoffs cuts deep. It is perhaps not as bad as, let’s say, only seven division titles in the 28 years I have been alive. But it is a consistent anguish that is magnified with the repetition of this ritual seemingly every season.

Sticking with the team after these harrowing losses is the new rite of passage for Packers fans. However, it remains to be seen how long the team is willing to be complacent with the same results year after year. The time has been now for Rodgers since 2010. That 2011 juggernaut of a team crashing out of the playoffs at the hands of Eli Manning was the start of an unforgiving trend that has haunted the franchise to this day.

That complacency, while being a consistent source of pride at your local VFW, will not cut it in the grander scheme of things. This Packers team needs to win now, or else it risks losing any and all credibility Green Bay has been built up over Rodgers’ tenure as starting QB.

Sure, the Jordan Love pick was a whiff, but Gutekunst made it in panic and with the assumption that massive upside and untapped potential were lying within him. Recommitting to Rodgers and keeping the ol’ gang together is unquestionably a good move. However, it will look curious in a few years if this trend of title-less seasons in Titletown continues. The team is shelling out a bunch of money to a corps of players that, while talented, are getting up there in age. If Love truly doesn’t pan out, there is no clear replacement plan in place, and the Packers may be doomed to years of hovering around .562.

The time is now. Again. Put up or shut up. Again. Let’s see what this last chapter of the Rodgers saga brings.

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