It Doesn't Feel Like Aaron Rodgers Will Come Back Next Year
We have all been following the Aaron Rodgers saga with... well, I wouldn't frame it as "great interest" but something more akin to morbid curiosity as he descended into darkness to determine his football future. He emerged from that darkness last week and has yet to make a decision about where he'll play next year or if he'll play at all. And with each passing day it feels more and more like we've seen the last of Rodgers. At the very least it seems the Green Bay Packers are preparing for a 2023 season without their longtime QB.
How do we know this? We don't, but we can read between the lines. Not that the Packers have made that very hard. On Monday, Albert Breer reported for his MMQB column that Green Bay is more open to trading Rodgers than they have in years and are suddenly fully confident in Jordan Love after two years' worth of reports that they are worried about his viability as a starter. Per Sports Illustrated:
The Packers are in a tough spot with Aaron Rodgers. And to understand it, I think you have to understand how their perspective on this situation has changed over the past year.
The previous two offseasons, Green Bay’s focus was singular—get Rodgers back in the fold. My sense is that focus was born of Rodgers’s own excellence, the roster’s makeup (very win now), and the uneasiness of Jordan Love’s readiness to take over. It left them waiting Rodgers out for five months in 2021, and giving him an unprecedented contract to play an 18th season in Green Bay, and a 15th season as Packers starter, in ’22.
This year is different. They’re open to moving Rodgers. They have questions on backside-of-their-prime vets such as David Bakhtiari, with some cap issues to work through. And where they were worried about Love’s development a year ago, they’re now seeing a guy capable of starting—at the very least—with considerable upside.
On Tuesday, Packers GM Brian Gutekunst essentially hammered home those points during a sitdown with media. He also dodged a question about whether the Packers actually want Rodgers back, which probably means they do not.
Those quotes don't exactly give reunion vibes. Rodgers' radio silence is only making things more difficult, too. The longer he waits to tell Green Bay what he wants to do the more complicated things get from a trade perspective. It's probably also damaging the franchise's relationship with Love as he hangs out in limbo for the second straight offseason.
With Rodgers we are forced to read the tea leaves and what we're reading right now is that the man is done. In Green Bay at the very least and potentially football at large. Perhaps he needs another darkness retreat to come to a final decision. In the meantime the Packers and the rest of the football world impatiently wait.