It was the story of the summer – and it looks set to drag into 2022, as well. Having spent the entirety of his career at Lambeau Field and guided the Packers to their first Super Bowl success this century in 2010, Aaron Rodgers decided it was time for a change prior to the beginning of the 2021 season.
In the end, the Packers held firm and the man who was voted the league’s MVP for the third time last season found himself in green and gold once more – much to the delight of millions of Packers fans. But with the quarterback clearly still agitating for a move, will he be lining up alongside teammates such as Davante Adams next year? Here’s a closer look at how the story unfolded and what the next chapter is likely to hold.
Trouble in paradise
With Rodgers at the helm, the Packers have always been among the favorites to top their division and make it through the play-offs to the Super Bowl. Indeed, gamblers who favor NFL matches for betting are often drawn towards Green Bay, simply by virtue of Rodgers’ unshakeable will to win and incredible skill levels to back it up.
The arrangement had been a mutually beneficial one for both parties – until the 2020 draft. Rodgers had been hoping the Packers would use their first pick to bring in a new receiver to get on the end of his unerring arm, but instead they went for quarterback Jordan Love. Presumably the youngster was brought in to learn from and eventually replace Rodgers, but the fact that he was given no warning about the decision did not sit well.
Relations soured further when Rodgers publicly commented on how much he valued his teammate Jake Kumerow, only for the receiver to be cut from the roster two days later. Perhaps the most serious blow was struck in the NFC Championship game this January, however, when the Packers’ management didn’t trust Rodgers to throw the touchdown they needed to win and kicked a field goal instead. They lost to Tampa by the narrowest of margins.
What lies ahead?
While that disastrous episode meant it looked likely Rodgers would be leaving Lambeau Field this summer, such an outcome did not come to pass. Even after missing all of the team’s preseason training – including its mandatory three-day mini-camp – Rodgers did not manage to force a move to another franchise.
However, he hasn’t allowed that frustration to encroach on his gameplay. Although he hasn’t featured among the top 10 quarterbacks in the NFL for yards passed in 2021, he’s outperformed his teammate Love by some considerable distance. His pass completion rate is impressive and he’s still thrown over 2,000 yards, demonstrating that despite his 37 years, he’s still in the prime of his career.
Recent reports suggest that Rodgers may have a gentleman’s agreement in place for him to up sticks once the 2021 season is done and dusted. Then again, sources said the same thing of his desire to leave last year – and we all now how that turned out. So if the deal is only verbal rather than written, is it even worth the breath wasted on it? Only time will tell.
It seems clear to any outside observer that Rodgers still wants to leave the Packers come the end of the season. Given that his stock will never be higher and they have a ready-made replacement in Love, it might be in Green Bay’s interest to acquiesce – but they have form for holding firm, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens come the off-season.
Adam Jones does not exist. Article updated to reflect this.