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Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers isn’t sure how much longer he’ll get to play for the only NFL franchise he’s ever known. But amid the future Hall of Famer’s uncertainty, many around the game believe the clock is ticking until an unceremonious departure from Green Bay.
Speculation about a Rodgers trade started last offseason when general manager Brian Gutekunst traded up to draft Jordan Love. Across the NFL, general managers and scouts blasted the Packers for the selection and many around the league openly wondered just how much longer Green Bay would stand by its franchise quarterback.
After winning his third NFL MVP, the speculation intensified this offseason. Rodgers openly discussed his uncertain future. It immediately sparked trade rumors and led to teams reaching out. While the Packers ruled out a blockbuster trade in 2021, many believe a deal is inevitable and this all ends by 2023.
Recently, Rodgers’ former teammate and Packers’ legend Charles Woodson talked to CBS Sports’ Radio Zach Gelb about where he sees this situation going.
“I think it’s one of those situations where, you know, there’s all this talk swirling around between him and Green Bay. And I think it could be one of those situations where it gets nasty at some point, somehow in the back and forth between the Packers and Aaron’s agents and then before you know it somehow the thing gets blown up. I mean, I certainly hope that doesn’t happen, but you know where there’s smoke there’s fire.”Charles Woodson on drama between Green Bay Packers, Charles Woodson (H/T ProFootballTalk)
Woodson has first-hand experience regarding ties between a team and a storied player being severed early. The Oakland Raiders released him when he was 33, leading to him joining the Packers and winning a Super Bowl. In 2013, Woodson was released by Green Bay and later returned to the Raiders.
Looking at everything going on in Green Bay, Woodson now expects Rodgers to also finish his career elsewhere.
Will Aaron Rodgers stay with the Packers?
Despite a storied career in Green Bay, Rodgers is starting to recognize the direction the organization is headed. Some in the organization are ready for a change and CEO Mark Murphy couldn’t make a long-term commitment publicly to the franchise quarterback.
By not restructuring Rodgers’ contract, a decision that reflects poorly on the front office, the Packers are taking a year-to-year approach with Rodgers. As for the reigning NFL MVP, he wants a contract extension and to avoid the label of being a “lame-duck” quarterback on a franchise that isn’t making the win-now moves we see from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Realistically, Rodgers could be traded next offseason. If the Packers fail to reach the Super Bowl, Gutekunst will likely be thinking about the team’s future even more. With Love two years into his development and entering a critical point of his rookie contract, a decision will need to be made.
Green Bay could wait to trade Rodgers until 2023, the same year it must decide whether or not to exercise the fully guaranteed fifth-year option on Love’s rookie contract. But the organization likely doesn’t want to make that call without having seen him take significant steps, an outcome that requires him to start.
It seems evident the Packers are headed for another early divorce from a legendary quarterback. Only this time, there are even greater unknowns with the potential heir to the throne.