As is often the case with veteran performers, especially those filling a quarterback berth, the seemingly yearly discussion about Aaron Rodgers’ future intentions is now in full swing. Will he, won’t he head into retirement? If he extends his playing career, which roster will he form part of in 2023?
The list of questions for an all-time great is as long as the one detailing his remarkable achievements over the course of a glittering and record-setting career. As things stand, there are not nearly as many answers.
While AR12 will forever be associated with the Green Bay Packers, having been taken by them with the 24th overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, there are no guarantees that his sporting fairytale will end where it began.
For now, he remains part of Matt LaFleur’s thinking, with a lucrative three-year contract signed in March 2022, but said terms may be broken just 12 months later. With Super Bowl LVII consigned to the history books, attention is beginning to shift towards the next bid for world championship glory.
Rodgers may have a role to play in that somewhere, with there enough speculation around to suggest that he could be heading east to New York, or maybe even Boston. The New York Jets and New England Patriots can both consider themselves to need a proven performer under center that will help to bring stability and reliability to what has become a problematic position.
Neither will figure prominently in many predictions being drawn up at this stage, but time is on their side – as it is with the Packers – when it comes to piecing together a competitive squad and earning favor among pundits and punters.
Unlike in Wisconsin, where only a select few outlets boast legalized gambling, Massachusetts sports betting is in full swing, with Pats fans longing for somebody other than Bill Belichick on which to hang their hopes and hat. Online sports betting is expected to launch in early March, a month on from the latest Super Bowl party, with the likes of DraftKings and FanDuel readying registration offers and bonuses that could appeal to those playing the long game when it comes to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas.
Along with guides, there are reviews and other details are up for grabs, as contenders are separated from pretenders. Fantasy Sports sites from ESPN and Yahoo are also likely to prove popular as fan bases that stretch from one coast to the other are eager to ensure that they are fully plugged into the action on any given Sunday.
Rodgers, if he decides to helmet up for at least one more campaign, can expect to figure as prominently in the thoughts of fantasy and online coaches as he does real-life ones, despite an uncharacteristic dip in lofty standards being endured last time out.
In 2022, he threw for the fewest yards (3,695) across any season in which he played at least 15 games while posting more interceptions (12) than he has in the last decade. Fitness issues, such as a broken thumb and rib complaints, also held him back at times.
Rodgers’ pedigree remains of obvious appeal, though, with Jets owner Woody Johnson conceding that he is looking for a “missing piece” in the Big Apple that a veteran QB would provide. Meanwhile, Tom Brady – fresh from hanging up his own cleats for the last time – has expressed a desire to see Rodgers play on, saying: “I think the league needs good quarterbacks, and he’s one of the greats. So if he retires, it’ll be a sad day for the league.”
No decision has been taken as yet, with Rodgers leaving the door open for any eventuality – be that staying put or spreading his wings. He has said when asked if a parting of ways could be in the cards in Green Bay: “If they feel like it was in the best interests of the team to move forward, so be it. Again, that wouldn’t offend me, and it wouldn’t make me feel like a victim. I wouldn’t have any animosity towards the team. I love the organization, I love the city, I love the region. I have a lot of love for what’s gone on in Green Bay. And I’d love to finish there, I would. I might have finished there. Who knows?”
Rodgers has also said that “the grass is green where you water it”, as he attempts to steer around any debate regarding the risks that would be involved in a potential change of scenery, with everything being done to avoid committing fully to any big call. One will have to be made at some stage, and it remains to be seen whether that offers cause for optimism at Lambeau Field or an entirely new home.