For the longest time, the narratives around why Aaron Rodgers is holding out from the Green Bay Packers have centered on the most obvious theory. It’s just a money plot. He’s coming off an MVP season. He turns 38-years old this year. It is the perfect opportunity for an aging star quarterback to squeeze in one more big payday. If this were true, then rest assured that Rodgers would already be practicing in Green Bay.

That was made clear by the latest update from Adam Schefter of ESPN. He revealed that earlier this offseason, the team offered Rodgers a two-year contract extension. One that would’ve tied him to the organization for five years and made him the highest-paid player in the NFL. Rodgers declined the offer. If ever there was resounding proof that this entire situation wasn’t about the money? This is it.

Yet it gets even better.

It is also about the message this sends. When the Packers drafted Jordan Love in 2020, it was with the belief they could develop him within two years to become Rodgers’ heir apparent. Now do the math. Love has had one year to develop already. He might still need another but one would think Green Bay is at least semi-confident they can make it work with him for 2021.

Instead, they offered Rodgers an extension that basically would’ve made him the unquestioned starter way beyond that two-year window. There couldn’t possibly be a greater indication of how the Packers feel about the young quarterback than this. Despite what they may say publicly, it is clearer than ever they’re having doubts about Love’s readiness to play. Not just this year but maybe at all.

Aaron Rodgers probably knew this too

While it is just speculation, one must remember he practiced with Love for an entire year. He had a close-up look of who his “replacement” was going to be. The fact he decided to make his move this offseason against the Packers suggests he intended to inflict maximum possible damage on the organization. Just when they were realizing Love might not be what they hoped, their safety net of extending Rodgers goes out the window.

Now, this could all end up being anticlimactic. Aaron Rodgers may yet still return for the 2021 season. Not necessarily out of loyalty to the organization but more a desire to compete for the Super Bowl while the window is still open. If Green Bay won’t let him do it with another team, he can stomach doing it one more year with them. For himself and teammates more than the men at the top.

Answers to that question are just over a week away.

Packers training camp starts July 28th. If Rodgers doesn’t show up? Then people will have their answer. He isn’t going to play for Green Bay this season. That means Love will be the starter, whether the Packers believe he’s ready or not. Then everybody will see whether GM Brian Gutekunst made the right call pegging him as Rodgers’ successor or if he prematurely ended one of the greatest QB-team relationships in NFL history for nothing.