Aaron Rodgers has opened the season as the Green Bay Packers starting quarterback every year since 2008. But his future with the franchise has come into serious doubt, with the future Hall of Famer upset with the front office and reportedly seeking a trade.
When trade rumors first circulated around the reigning NFL MVP, rival clubs immediately reach out. One club quickly emerged as the favorite, with many league insiders predicting Rodgers won’t return to Green Bay. But the tide seems to be turning, with the latest signs indicating the Packers might still have a chance.
Several of the 37-year-old’s former teammates and close friends hinted that a return for No. 12 is possible. While the situation remains tenuous, with the threat of retirement on the table, Rodgers could still be starting for Green Bay this fall.
The Athletic’s Mark Schneidman, who covers the Green Bay Packers, released his initial 53-man roster projection. In his analysis of each position, he made a forecast for the Packers’ quarterback situation in 2021.
“I think Gutekunst will remain firm in his stance of not trading Rodgers. I also don’t think Rodgers will retire or hold out into the regular season. I find it hard to believe that Rodgers’ closest friends on the team — Davante Adams, David Bakhtiari and Marcedes Lewis — won’t be able to convince him to show up in time to start against the Saints on Sept. 12.”The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman weighs in on Aaron Rodgers’ future with Packers
Schneidman’s forecast adds to a sentiment that seems to be gaining steam. While Rodgers has a history of being stubborn and is dug into his heels on this matter, the Packers might be taking the necessary steps that could push towards a resolution.
Who will be the Packers quarterback in 2021?
A few weeks ago, the Packers only had Rodgers and Jordan Love on the roster. Even without the ongoing drama, the franchise was going to add a third quarterback for summer practices. Ultimately, they brought in Blake Bortles to create some competition in camp and as insurance, in the event Rodgers holds out.
Rodgers’ issues with the Packers aren’t tied to a singular problem. Brian Gutekunst’s decision to draft Love in 2020 without even communicating with his franchise quarterback caused a significant distrust. After Rodgers won his third NFL MVP, he wanted a contract extension that ensured he could finish his career on Green Bay on his terms. Instead, the Packers offered a restructured deal of his current contract.
Things are changing. Public pressure, along with teammates and head coach Matt LaFleur backing the face of the franchise, changed Green Bay’s approach. The Packers are willing to sign him to a contract extension and both sides have at least discussed the parameters of a deal.
Green Bay Packers rumors: Team ‘believes’ Aaron Rodgers return possible
There’s still a ton of work that must be done. After proving he can still play at the highest level, Rodgers wants to see the front office take a win-now approach. General managers like building for the future, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have gone all-in with Tom Brady and veteran quarterbacks are taking notice.
While it once seemed like a trade was a foregone conclusion, the Packers now have hope. If Rodgers takes the field for this team in 2021, they have a great shot at competing for the Super Bowl. But if he sits out and either Love or Bortles starts, Green Bay might have a top-10 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.