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Thoughts on the Latest (Endless) Rodgers News

I’ve yet to see anyone provide a compelling reason why Aaron Rodgers would want to retire. Sure, he’s dropped some hints to the media – which assures he stays in the news. But that in itself is telling. Retirement would kill off Rodgers’ newsworthiness – and it’s apparent that Aaron loves to be in the headlines. Didn’t we just go through all this retirement speculation a year ago? Forty or fifty million bucks a year is also a pretty fair incentive to keep playing.

How many times do you see stars at the top of their games call it quits? Brady accomplished all he could ever have wanted a season ago. In Las Angeles, both Aaron Donald and Coach McVay have been entertaining the media with their musings about leaving the game. Look at how the lure of winning another Super Bowl prompted Rob Gronkowski to come back from retirement.

Aaron has said repeatedly in the course of last season that he’s been the happiest playing football in a long time. He’s complimented his coaches, his players, and even GM Gutekunst. Does that sound like a guy who’s ready to call it quits?

Most importantly, however, Aaron loves the game and the competition – and winning. The quest to be the best is the one ingredient that is common to most superstars. He’s been open about wanting to be on a contender in 2022. I continue to believe that being a contender in 2022 will not be the Packers’ reality if Rodgers stays put.

Due to the salary cap, that would mean about six of their top ten players would be departing. It’s possible – though I’ve never seen anyone try to spell it out – that restructuring the biggest contracts could result in maybe only four such departures, but then the Packers would be left to pay the price in 2023 and 2024.

Currently, teams in the running in the Rodgers Sweepstakes, and their salary cap spaces, include: Miami, + $62.1M; Broncos, +39.2M; Las Vegas, +$19.8M; San Francisco, +$2.93; Green Bay, -$48.5M. If Rodgers is traded, it will be the Packers, and not Aaron, who decide which team he’ll go to.

Finally, if Aaron moves on, he’ll very likely go to a team that has a shot at making the Super Bowl. He’d also instantly become a huge celebrity in his new environs. I could see Aaron being drawn to Las Vegas (10-7 last season) or Miami (9-8). How about Arizona (11-6), where QB Kyler Murray doesn’t seem to be nicely maturing. Besides, running QBs have seldom risen to the top of the league – even if they manage to avoid serious injuries.

Another QB who has yet to establish himself as a top-tier guy is the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott, and he’s also proven to be hard to satisfy. Wouldn’t Jerry Jones love to have a full house of fans welcoming Aaron to a raucous AT&T stadium? The Cowboys went 12-5 last season, and the consensus is that they’ve had the most talented roster of players in the league for the past few years now.

And what about the 49ers? They are loaded with talent, and just weeks ago they were a snap or two from going to the Super Bowl – and that was with Garoppolo flinging the ball. Since 2017, Jimmy has only seen his passer rating reach triple digits once (102.0 in 2019).

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) hands the ball to Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) in the second half of the NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. Green Bay Packers defeated Cincinnati Bengals 25-22 in overtime.
Green Bay Packers At Cincinnati Bengals 65

I’m not so sure that Aaron would want to go to Denver (7-10 last season). I don’t think they can afford to give up several of their best players and/or future draft choices, in order to acquire Rodgers.

There is, however, one piece of recent evidence, as opposed to idle speculation, that the team is trying to retain Aaron for the 2022 season: bringing Tom Clements out of retirement to be the new quarterbacks coach. Clements was on the Packers’ coaching staff from 2006 through 2016. Rodgers has repeatedly lavished praise on Clements, who was the team’s quarterbacks coach for six years, followed by being offensive coordinator from 2012 through 2014 and associate head coach in 2015 and 2016. Aaron has repeatedly lavished praise on Clements, and the team has been highly successful in Clements’ time here – with only one losing season in eleven years. That was in 2008, Aaron’s first season as a starter, when the team went 6-10.

Of course, it’s also conceivable that the Packers’ front office views Clements as an ideal choice to guide Jordan Love through his first few seasons as the team’s starting QB.

My hunch, for what that’s worth, is that both Rodgers and GM Gutekunst have each already concluded that Rodgers will be playing elsewhere in 2022. We should find out if this is so within the next four weeks.

It might well be that Gutekunst is thinking of a different all-in approach: going all-in to position the Packers to be a playoffs team beginning in 2023 and for many years to follow. I don’t think Green Bay can have it both ways: going all in with Rodgers in 2022 would almost certainly render the Packers uncompetitive in 2023 and for several years thereafter. A competent GM needs to think long term as well as short term.

The Packers’ salary cap issues have caught up with them. Whether the Packers keep Rodgers or not in 2022, I’m reconciled to the inevitable: that the Packers will not make the playoffs this coming season.

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Rob Born

Smart drafters don’t select the best available players, they fill a team’s positions of greatest need.

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9 Comments

  1. Howard February 25, 2022

    You can never say never when you discuss the NFL, but I feel very confident if Rodgers was traded it would not be to an NFC team. It is not the Packers, or most NFL’s teams way to trade quality players within their conference.
    Does Clements have any strong ties to the current Packers team, coaches, or players except Rodgers? Clements has retired twice in the last 5/6 years and stayed away from football for 3 of those years. I don’t see Clements coming back as a QB coach at almost 70 years old for any reason other than the opportunity to work with Rodgers.
    A lot can be done with the salary cap using void years and extended contracts. At some time the Packers still have to pay down the road. What the NFL salary cap looks like 2 to 5 years down the road is the question?
    I agree Rodgers and the Packers already know what course they are taking. I’m just not as confident that it will be with another team.

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  2. Deepsky February 25, 2022

    Is it wrong to be amused by the thought of Rodgers being traded back to a team coached by Mike McCarthy?

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  3. Tom M February 26, 2022

    At 38, Drew Brees signed at two year 50 million dollar contract to stay with the Saints to try and win another SB and go out on top. Late in his career, Tom Brady signed team friendly deals with the Patriots and Bucs. Aaron Rodgers has made his money. It should be about winning championships now. It should be about where’s his best fit for him to likewise go out on top. If Rodgers makes this about money, then you have to trade him. Aaron Rodgers is an attention whore. He craves Hollywood and seeks out that lifestyle along with all the attention that it brings. His next beard will undoubtedly be yet another D list actress who isn’t talented enough to keep her name relevant by her own merits. But rather, only by hitching her name to an aging jock. Retiring from football doesn’t keep Erin the center of attention that he craves. Not to mention it offers nothing to potential starlets in the way of press. He’s not retiring. I’ve said from the beginning, he only comes back if he’s willing to sign a team friendly deal. Packer management never talks about players or contracts. Yet management has been very vocal about wanting Rodgers to stay. This is their way of saying publicly, if he leaves it’s because it’s what he wanted. Rodgers considers himself Tom Brady. He wants to go elsewhere and show the world he can win a championship. He wants to prove to the world it was the Packers that held him back all these years. It wasn’t his fault. He wants to go out like Tom Brady. In reality he’ll go out like Brett Favre. Let him go.

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  4. Tom M February 26, 2022

    Like everything else, this will all come down to money. If Rodgers insists on 50 million per season then a trade is inevitable. You can’t have it both ways. Be paid the highest and expect to have a talented roster when your taking up a quarter of the salary cap. And he’s already said he doesn’t want anything to do with a rebuild. You can speculate all you want. But like Favre before him, Rodgers will not be traded to an NFC team. That really only leaves Denver, Pittsburgh, and possibly Miami. With all his buddies now in Denver, it makes too much sense not to think that a deal hasn’t already been worked out. In a division with Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, and Derek Carr. The Broncos have nothing at QB and are desperate to stay relevant. A trade allows you to keep your core players and gives Jordan Love the best chance to succeed. You give Love next season to show you if he’s the answer. If not, you package your draft picks from Denver and move up to get the hot QB prospect in next years draft. See San Francisco and Chicago in last years draft. It makes no sense to keep Rodgers. He can’t win the big game. All the while he’d be suffocating your salary cap. You’d end up with two more years just like the last two. No thanks.

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  5. Deepsky February 26, 2022

    It’s always going to be about money. I think that that any good player who has played in Green Bay believes he’s getting screwed out of millions in endorsements by playing in tiny Green Bay, so the Packers never get a hometown discount. I honestly can’t remember a player saying “I’ll take a paycut so the Packers can get to the Super Bowl”. Oh there’s restructuring where the player gets more money up front, but I can’t remember any player making less money.

    As a reminder. Tom Brady’s salary cap hit was only $10 million his Super Bowl year. Even with the Patriots, he signed team friendly deals. Matt Stafford’s salary cap hit was $20 million this year. Patrick Mahomes salary cap hit was $5 million the year KC won the Super Bowl. A big reason why the Packers didn’t go back to the Super Bowl with either Favre or Rodgers was because each of them were the highest paid QBs in the league at the end of their careers when they signed their final contracts. Rodgers will want to paid as the highest QB in the league again if he has to suffer through another year with the Packers.

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  6. Mitch Anthony February 26, 2022

    I don’t really buy the endorsement angle, not anymore. Short of living on the South Pole you can be almost anywhere on this planet and with today’s technology be able to ring the endorsement bell if you’re wanted. NFL players have significant time off to be able to tape and create big projects and most can fly across the country in a half dozen hours or less, if need be, for more immediate ones. Big time players with big contracts can easily afford NetJets and a potential sponsor might foot the bill for that too if someone has to fly across the country on a moments notice.

    Just because you play for Green Bay doesn’t mean your going to be cutting ads for Stan’s Used Rides With Salvage Titles.

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  7. Tom M February 27, 2022

    Players want to win. Big city Detroit has never been a Mecca for free agents because it’s always been a dumpster fire of an organization. Cleveland, Cincinnati, Buffalo all share the same limitations as Green Bay. Most players who actually play for the Packers enjoy it there and want to end their careers in title town. If your all about football, and the Packers go out of their way to make sure the players they draft are, then it’s a great place to play. AJ Dillion lives there and has embraced the community. Aaron Jones could have easily left but told his agent he wanted to stay. MVS has stated publicly he wants to stay. The facility is state of the art and the organization is well run. This isn’t the 1970’s. If your not a gun carrying, girlfriend beating, gangster. There’s a lot to like. We were able to sign ZaDarius, Preston, Amos, and Turner. Not to mention Reggie White and Charles Woodson. So the FA angle doesn’t really apply. If it were me, I’d franchise tag Davante Adams. Trade him along with Rodgers to Denver for multiple picks and Jerry Jeudy. Jeudy gives you an immediate replacement for Adams. I use Denver’s 9th overall pick on a premium pass rusher to start opposite Rashan Gary. That would allow you to move off both Smiths. Then with our 1st round pick, I’d use it on a RT or ILB. With 2nd and 3rd round picks, I’d go TE and WR. Give the keys to Jordan Love. Play defense and run the ball. Don’t put it all on your young QB. See what we have. We’ll have some dead money on this years cap but we’d still be very competitive. And after this year the cap goes up significantly. And the dead money will be gone. The alternative is to pay Rodgers 50 million, Adams 25 million, and gut the roster. That means you’ve got Rodgers and Adams that account for nearly 45% of your cap! If they couldn’t do it with a talented roster, they sure as shit won’t do it without one! Keep your core guys and give Jordan Love his shot. If it doesn’t work then you move in next years draft and select a QB. This isn’t that complicated. It makes too much sense. I think it’s a done deal and they’re just waiting to hear back on Rodgers this potential “retirement” nonsense.

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  8. PF4L February 27, 2022

    So…i’m reading this article, and i agree with a lot, and some…not so much.
    Lets start with……
    .
    There’s an accusation that Rodgers craves/has to be in the spotlight.
    This is Aaron fucking Rodgers…if he really “craved” the spotlight, he could be in the spotlight 24/7/365, easily.
    I find it entertaining how some talk about him as if they’ve known him personally for years.
    Seriously?
    You know how he feels?…what he’s thinking? Why he does what he does?
    Lol…that is very impressive people.
    .
    I don’t agree with Robs hunch…that the Packers and Gute have concluded that Rodgers will be calling the moving van.
    My hunch, like Rob’s, is just a hunch…..i think Rodgers is going nowhere.
    I would think by now we’d have heard rumors about various trades if that was what was happening.
    So far i’ve heard nothing with substance.
    Although i will say…Robs idel about Rodgers going to the Boys is intriguing.
    They are stacked, but then what to do with Prescott?
    Sure…the Packers could use him, but then they are in the salary cap hit range of 35-45 million each of the next two seasons unless they re-work it and push money down the road.
    But then…someone here could continue crying about the Packers QB having a high cap hit.
    For him….it’s something to bitch about. His life’s hobby.
    .
    In related…if Rodgers wants to retire, do we have to be able see a compelling reason for it?
    Playing 14 seasons as a starter and going out as a SB winner, SB MVP, certain HOF’er…seems certainly enough to where i wouldn’t question why.
    If a player like that wants to retire, or not, it’s not really my place to question it.
    ****************
    For whatever reason…i’m not one to read full articles, or even comments for that matter, i just get the jist….then i respond.
    I have a few exceptions, with Howard being one of them, not only do i read all of it, most times i re-read it…either to make sure i fully understand, or just trying to read between the lines.
    *************
    Which leads me to Deep’s comments…i actually like Deeps thoughts (right or wrong) when he’s not fixated on Rodgers hate.
    Here..i’m not buying his money theory about playing in Green Bay…a star is a star in the NFL…period.
    .
    Also..a players cap number is mostly dictated by the team, not the player. Teams are in charge of how their salary cap is structured.
    Brady’s cap hit was only 10.5 million….This is enlightening news?
    He made a hair shy of 60 million the last 2 seasons with the Bucs.
    Lets not act like he played for free.
    Next season (that he won’t be playing), the Bucs have a cap hit of about 24 million from Brady’s deal..
    Pay now, or pay later.
    .
    In closing…..during the 2021 draft, i don’t think the Packers had any intention of keeping Rodgers past 2021.
    But as time marches on, the clouds part and it becomes easier to see what you have, vs. what you wish you had.
    My “hunch” is that the Packers and Rodgers have agreed to try and keep him on, and push money down the road…more money i meant, heavy money.
    They are possibly doing that as we speak.
    Could i be wrong and Rodgers retires?
    Could i be wrong and the Packers and another team are currently into very secretive trade talks.
    Sure….i could be wrong, but this is how i se it.
    .
    Will i be sad if Rodgers retires, or if he’s traded?
    Not …in the least.
    I appreciate all he’s done and wish him nothing but the best.
    I think we hear from Rodgers in days…not weeks
    .
    What team has had 30 years of HOF QB’s?
    No team…has ever come close.
    Or will…ever.
    As a Packer fan, know what you had, and be grateful.
    Sure…you can whine and bitch about it…
    Who respects anyone who does that?
    Nobody.

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    .

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  9. rebelgb March 1, 2022

    I find the Dallas talk interesting considering how poorly Arodge and Mcfatty got along at the end of Mikes tenure. Theres zero chance of it happening. However if God made it happen Arodge would definitely retire rather than play for that guy. The moves in cap space have led me to believe Arodge is staying. They will also be tagging Adams. All of that is fine and dandy but I done see how any of that changes the Packers future. Aaron will still have googly eyes for Adams and sacrifice big games to just get him the ball, and I dont see any conceivable way this team is better in 2022 than it was in 2021 talent wise. Aaron and Adams had their best shot last year.

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