On the Matt: Aaron Rodgers versus the Green Bay Packers
It is no surprise, or shouldn’t be, to anyone that Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will not be returning to Green Bay to play a 19th season.
All signs, or at least several, point to Rodgers being traded to the New York Jets. Right? That’s the question that everyone is asking. And, if so, when?
In fact, as this is being written, rumors are swirling that a deal could be announced at any moment, maybe even before this column hits the newsstands.
Still, let’s go back a bit and see how we got here, while also looking at what’s next.
Last Wednesday, Rodgers made an appearance on Pat McAfee’s show to talk about his feelings. He announced that he intends to play in 2023 — but not for Green Bay. Instead, he plans to suit up as a member of the Jets.
Rodgers has already expressed his emotions for the Packers, thanking everyone over the past 18 years he suited up for the green and gold, from former players, to staff in the Packers locker room/ Lambeau field staff.
The people he left out were Brian Gutekunst, the Packers GM, who has made, shall we say, questionable decisions involving his star QB for the past five years, owner Mark Murphy and head coach Matt LaFleur.
So, Rodgers is gone and Jordan Love is the new starting quarterback. Actually, not so fast with that one.
Here’s the problem: The Packers’ asking price for Rodgers is multiple first-round picks and at least a second-round pick, which to me is crazy for a quarterback that is 39 years old and coming off a so-so year, at least for him.
And, the saga between Rodgers and the Packers will only get more interesting as the draft gets closer and closer.
What happens if the Jets are not willing to give all that up for a very veteran quarterback? The Packers would end up having to keep him on the roster and take a $58 million cap hit for 2023 for him, and Green Bay definitely does not want that.
Another scenario would be the Packers not being able to get what they ask, but still make the deal. They would end up most likely getting a second-round pick and a compensatory sixth-round pick and Green Bay would have to only deal with a $31 million cap hit for 2023.
The last scenario to the “Aaron Rodgers Situation” is that Rodgers doesn’t get traded at all, pouts and decides to retire from football. Here, the Packers would take a $40 million cap hit. Not only that, Green Bay gets no draft picks in return for losing Rodgers and $40 million in dead cap money, which could send the franchise into a spiraling cycle of mediocre seasons.
While decisions hopefully are coming soon, this situation has been long in coming.
If you remember, it all started in 2020 when Green Bay came off a blowout loss in the NFC Championship game to the San Francisco 49ers. Green Bay made the controversial move to draft Jordan Love in the first round with the 26th overall pick. Green Bay, however, forgot to tell Rogers they were drafting Love which, as we all know now, didn’t go over well.
Despite the drama beforehand, the 2020 season turned out to be another successful regular season for Green Bay as they finished with the best record in the NFC at 13-3. Green Bay grabbed their first playoff win at home versus the Los Angeles Rams but were stunned at home by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship game by Tom Brady in his first-ever season on a team in the NFC.
The friction between the two sides popped up again that offseason. In the 2021 NFL Draft, the Packers’ biggest need was wide receiver. But Green Bay decided to ignore that and draft cornerback Eric Stokes in the first round with the 29th overall pick.
At this point, Rodgers was fed up with the Packers and decided to hold out, not returning to the team until training camp in July.
Again, the drama didn’t seem to carry over to the field. Green Bay posted another 13-4 season and clinched the NFC’s No. 1 seed. They then lost in the divisional round in the playoffs.
Rodgers became more disgruntled and nobody thought he would stay. Then, he signed a $158 million extension to stay in Green Bay. But, as they say, money doesn’t always buy happiness.
The Packers again passed up on a wide receiver in the draft in the first round, Rodgers had the worst statistical year of his career and Green Bay missed the playoffs for the first time since 2018.
Now, here we are here in 2023 and still waiting to see what happens next for the Packers QB. And, maybe the theatrics are about to end, as it seems safe to say Rodgers is not coming back to Green Bay next season. Or, could he? Has that trade been announced and no one told us?
One thing is for sure. Rodgers continues to provide as much drama off the field for Packers fans as he does on it. Let’s enjoy it while it lasts.
— Matt Bousley is a senior at Niagara High School and sports writer/intern at The Daily News. To contact Bousley, email firstname.lastname@example.org.