Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is facing uncertainty amid contract turmoil and increasing doubts about his future. Now, as the organization’s handling of the situation draws increasing criticism, a former Packers’ star isn’t holding back against his old team.
Jordy Nelson was Green Bay’s second-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, joining the franchise in Rodgers’ first season as the starting quarterback. After a few years of working on their timing, Rodgers and Nelson became one of the best quarterback-receiver duos in the NFL.
During their time together, Rodgers ascended into an MVP passer and Nelson an All-Pro receiver. Across nine seasons in Green Bay, Nelson hauled in 613 receptions, 8,587 receiving yards and 72 touchdowns. While he would finish his playing career in 2018 with the Oakland Raiders, Nelson signed a one-day contract on Aug. 4, 2019 to retire as a Packer.
Months later, Green Bay traded up to draft Jordan Love with the No. 26 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. It immediately created concerns about the club’s long-term plans for Rodgers. The future Hall of Fame quarterback responded by winning his third NFL MVP award, carrying the team to the NFC Championship Game for the second consecutive year.
Rodgers openly discussed his uncertain future after the NFCCG loss, sparking debate about how much longer he would play in Green Bay. The 37-year-old wanted a contract extension this offseason, a move that would erase any concerns about being a “lame-duck” quarterback and would also create cap space this spring for the Packers to add win-now talent.
Instead, the Packers chose not to even restructure Rodgers’ contract. It allowed the organization the flexibility to move on from him in the future. In an interview on The Pat McAfee Show, Nelson joined is joining a growing list of analysts, reporters and Packers’ legends to criticize the team.
“No, I don’t know what they’re doing. Yeah, I can’t answer any of those questions. It’s mind-blowing sometimes, especially when he comes out and has an MVP year, and they don’t wanna commit or do whatever they want to do to show appreciation or whatever it is for the next few years. Seems like it would be a pretty easy and simple move that I would say 100% if not 99.9% of people would agree with.”Jordy Nelson on Green Bay Packers’ handling of Aaron Rodgers, via The Pat McAfee Show
Will Aaron Rodgers stay with the Packers?
When speculation around Rodgers’ future in Green Bay first popped up this spring, the team quickly shot down any thought of a trade. Matt LaFleur strongly pushed back against the idea and CEO Mark Murphy said they would be idiots to trade him.
Green Bay Packers rumors: Organization ready to move on from Aaron Rodgers?
The reigning NFL MVP will be back under center for the 2021 season, pushing for a second Super Bowl title. But there is a growing belief around the NFL that he won’t be with Green Bay for much longer.
While Rodgers is under contract through 2023, the Packers can trade him with little financial ramifications next offseason. It would allow the club to turn to Love after two years of development. Additionally, Green Bay would have a full season of him as a starter to help determine if it should exercise his fifth-year option.
As a result, there’s growing doubt from top NFL insiders that Rodgers is the Packers’ quarterback for much longer. Realistically, this could be his final season in Green Bay.
The Packers saw this strategy work out once before, transitioning from Brett Favre to Rodgers. But Favre teased retirement for years, something the current quarterback has never done. There’s also a stark difference in the talent differential evaluators saw between Rodgers and Love entering their respective draft classes.
It’s possible the Packers get it right again, but lightning rarely strikes three times in the same spot.