Aaron Rodgers figured he’d run it back again in 2022 after three years of outstanding success with the Green Bay Packers, including multiple MVP awards and two NFC championship appearances. Even after losing star wide receiver Davante Adams, he was sure things would work out. He was wrong. Green Bay stumbled to an 8-9 record, their first losing season under Matt Lafleur. It was punctuated by a brutal 20-16 loss at home against Detroit in the season finale, costing them a playoff spot. The worst part is Rodgers played poorly, throwing what became the game-sealing interception.
That leaves the Packers in a fog of the unknown. They’ve expressed a desire for Rodgers to return, but some don’t believe that is the case. He turns 40 years old this season. His flirtations with retirement are ongoing. Last of all, his trade value is only getting weaker as he ages. Former Green Bay executive Andrew Brandt explained on the MMQB that there is another issue in play: Rodgers’ contract. How it is structured has the dead cap money going higher each year. That means if the Packers don’t trade him this year, doing so would be almost impossible in 2024.
It honestly might be now or never.
“The Packers have had to plan for trading Rodgers and taking on that dead-money charge. As to the prospect of trading the face of the franchise? Well, they traded Brett Favre 15 years ago (not-humble brag: there was only a $600K dead-money charge then). And yes, I can see the Packers deciding it is time to move to Jordan Love, who has been quietly waiting for a chance for three years—as Rodgers did 17, 16 and 15 years ago. I sense they are ready to make that transition, although again, I sensed that a year ago and was proved incorrect…
…As I (wrongly) thought last year, I think it’s time for a change in Green Bay. It’s O.K.; it happens (it happened with me after 10 years there). Rodgers and the team have had a wonderful run with fantastic success, despite some gutting playoff losses. He will one day zoom into the Packers Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame without any discussion. But I sense it’s time for a change, and change can be good for all.”
Aaron Rodgers controls this narrative.
He can make such discussions moot if he decides to retire. However, that feels unlikely with the money he’d be giving up. This feels like a decision based on how close he thinks the Packers are to the Super Bowl. Recent evidence suggests their most recent window has closed. Potential cap casualties are coming this off-season, and it will be difficult to replace the losses. Rodgers may want to join an organization with a roster ready to win. Early rumors suggest the New York Jets.
Jordan Love is the other factor in this equation. Green Bay invested 1st and 4th round picks in him in 2020. His rookie contract is already nearing expiration, with the 5th-year option on the table after this season. The Packers must find out if their investment was worth anything. That can’t happen as long as Aaron Rodgers is still on the team. So Brandt might indeed be correct. It comes down to what sort of price will be paid by another team to acquire the future Hall of Famer.