GREEN BAY, Wisconsin – Aaron Rodgers, four-time league MVP and Super Bowl champion, made NFL history forever.
But as for his future and whether he will return to the Packers for the 19th season or play elsewhere, the record is not so clear.
We’ve come to a point in the season where football has ended and the speculative game with Rodgers and the Packers has begun. Does he want to come back? Do the Packers want him back?
This marks the third year in a row that the sides will enter the off-season under a cloud of uncertainty. The previous two times came after playoff home defeats, with the Packers only having one win since advancing to the Super Bowl, and this year in a 20-16 loss to the Lions on Sunday night at Lambeau Field.
As Rodgers walked off the pitch with his arm around veteran court and close friend Randall Cobb, it seemed the end might be imminent for us. But trying to interpret Rodgers’ body language comes with a warning: PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK!
Rodgers’ love of gaming extends beyond the football field to the media room. He can be wary and shy around reporters, apparently relishing the opportunity to keep them guessing. But know one thing: Rodgers is as precise in his words as he is in football. He thinks before he speaks, fully understanding the weight of his words.
Does he already know what he wants to do? Perhaps, but he said the emotions were too strong on Sunday night to think about it. His ability to make every shot is undeniable – the deep pass to Romeo Doubs from the right touchline was so beautiful it defies description, although Doubs failed to catch it – but Rodgers knows there are factors beyond the physical that need to be addressed.
For example: Does he feel he has more to prove to himself? Does he want to go through the grind of preparing for next season? Is it time for another voice to lead the team? Does the franchise feel it’s time for former first-round contender Jordan Love to take the reins?
“I have to get away and think about these things,” he said at the post-match press conference. “They are real to me. I am very proud of what I have achieved in this league, but I am also realistic and understand where we are as a team. We are a young team and there may be some change with some of the older guys. It might be time to leave. But I could take the time and say, “Hell no. I have to go back and run again.”
The real question Rodgers and Packers need to ask themselves is whether they are as close to being full-fledged contenders as they say. Both have a habit of winning under coach Matt LeFleur, scoring 47 points in their four seasons, but they failed to win the games that matter most.
Twice, the Packers have lost in the Conference Finals after 13 winning seasons, despite playing home games. And last season, after another 13 wins, they lost at home in the playoffs opener.
On Sunday, they faced a Detroit franchise that had lost 27 of their last 30 games at Lambeau Field, but the Packers were unable to use their home field to their advantage. They lost the fumble, threw an interception, failed to make it to the end zone in a scoring opportunity, and were only one of two in the red zone.
Rodgers finished 17th of 27 for 205 yards. It was the first time in his early career that he finished a season without playing a single game for 300 yards. Think about it for a moment. The man who threw for nearly 60,000 yards who has one of the sweetest deliveries imaginable without hitting a threshold that seems almost below him.
Maybe he really missed Davante Adams. Or maybe he didn’t trust his young audience. Maybe he struggled mentally with the reality that, for all his greatness, he couldn’t be the tide that raised the game of those around him. It can be humiliating for someone of his rank.
He says they are “few players” from being credible contenders. I’m not sure. Post-season numbers don’t lie. And if they’re not as close as they think, maybe it’s time to move on?
“Assuming it’s a foregone conclusion (that the Packers want him back) would probably be a bit selfish, so I’m going to be realistic here and understand that there are many different parts to it,” Rodgers said. “I was aware of the possibility that they would become young if we got to a point (this season) where we would be otherwise. I am also aware of this possibility (moving forward).”
Rodgers is guaranteed $60 million for the 2023 season. He has the upper hand in any discussions that take place. He knows it, the Packers know it. Neither of them knows if their 18-year marriage will last beyond this year.
Rodgers said his decision would not be influenced by the money owed him if he plays. “Money is energy. I made loads of them and I am very grateful to this organization, the generational wealth they have offered me,” he said. “I hope they feel I made a lot of money off of it. But yeah, sure, I could definitely walk away from that.”
When asked about playing for another team, he neither opened the door nor closed it. “I don’t like to say never,” he said, apparently hinting that it wasn’t a high probability.
If Sunday proves to be his last game, history will show that his last pass was an interception of Lions rookie Kerby Joseph, who became the first player to have three picks against Rodgers in a single season having intercepted him twice the previous season. meeting. But will this be his last serve?
One game ends, another begins.