NFL

Will Aaron Rodgers Finish His Career In Green Bay?

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) walks back to the locker room after the Green Bay Packers 31-26 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC championship playoff game Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Packers Packers25 Mjd 08911
Mike De Sisti / The Milwaukee Jo via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Aaron Rodgers has spent his entire career with the Green Bay Packers. He’s been among the best quarterbacks in the NFL for over a decade now. He has excelled throughout his career on route to three MVPs and a Super Bowl victory to boot in his performance. In recent years, Rodgers has taken his team to consecutive NFC championship games and remains on the precipice of another title.

There’s no doubt that he’s capable of leading this team to another championship. However, the Packers seemingly haven’t been all that committed to putting Rodgers in a prime position to do so. The future Hall-of-Famer has voiced his concerns about it on multiple occasions but to no reassuring response.

This visible discord between Rodgers and the organization has people asking: will Aaron Rodgers finish his career in Green Bay?

Where It All Started

Aug 17, 2020; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) and quarterback Jordan Love (10) are shown Monday, August 17, 2020, during training camp in Green Bay, Wis. Mandatory Credit: Dan Powers-USA TODAY Sports
Dan Powers-USA TODAY Sports

Any rumor of Aaron Rodgers potentially leaving the Packers would’ve largely been considered invalid a year ago. That all changed in the 2020 NFL Draft. The Packers were coming off their best finish since 2016. After an embarrassing loss to the 49ers in the NFC championship, most figured that they would use the draft to fill positions of need with younger talent.

We would all be in for a surprise. Green Bay traded up from the 30th to the 26th pick to draft Jordan Love, a highly touted quarterback prospect from Utah State. This decision left most people confused. There was a bevy of skilled, complementary players in the 2020 draft. Instead of taking any of them, the Packers picked a quarterback, despite having Aaron Rodgers on a roster primed for championship contention.

In today’s NFL, a quarterback being taken in the first round typically means the team’s current starter won’t be there much longer. Take the San Fransisco 49ers right now, for example. Younger prospects at that position aren’t forced to wait two to three years before playing like they used to.

Whether intended or not, the selection of Jordan Love signified to Rodgers and the rest of the league that Aaron might not be a Packer for the long haul.

What’s Happened Since

QB Aaron Rodgers (12) and the Packers were all smiles Saturday night after dispatching the Rams. 2021-01-17-rodgers-packers
Dan Powers via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Getting back on the field helped remedy the situation between Rodgers and the organization. They pounced on their momentum gained in 2019, dominating their way to another 13-3 record in 2020. Rodgers especially was a standout, throwing a career-best 48 touchdown passes and bringing home his third league MVP.

Their performance earned them the first seed in the NFC as well as a first-round bye. They then took care of business at home in the divisional round against the LA Rams. This led them back to the NFC championship game for a second straight year, this time against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Unfortunately, history would repeat itself, as the Packers fell short of reaching the Super Bowl yet again. So ended another year of Aaron Rodgers’ career and with it triggered more discussions on if he should want to stay in Green Bay moving forward.

No matter how dominant Rodgers was in 2020, Jordan Love will continue to loom large over the situation. In hindsight, the Packers could have used their first-round pick on one of the many prospects that were still available at #26 and would have assuredly gotten more production. Players that come to mind are Chase Claypool (WR), Patrick Queen (LB), and Antoine Winfield Jr. (S), to name a few.

All this has done is remind people of what could have been, and has all of us considering what ought to happen next.

What’s Next For Rodgers and Green Bay?

Jan 16, 2021; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) looks up during the second half of a NFC Divisional Round playoff game against the Los Angeles Rams at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

As far as we know, Rodgers will continue playing under center for Green Bay. However, there are still questions as to whether he should and for how much longer.

Look at what the now defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers did with Tom Brady. They exhausted every possible resource to make their roster as good as it could’ve been. Already having an elite duo of wide receivers in Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, they signed Antonio Brown anyway. Despite already having a capable starting tight end in Cameron Brate, they still traded for Rob Gronkowski. These are examples of making the best of an opportunity in little time.

In comparison, Green Bay comes off as neglectful when it comes to building around Aaron Rodgers. The Packers are good, but they could be great. They’re trying to prepare for the future while remaining competitive in the present. It’s an understandable approach, but one that has proven costly thus far.

One of three things will happen to resolve the issue. Rodgers could have his contract terminated at the end of next season, letting him enter free agency. On the other hand, the Packers could retain him for two more years and trade either him or Love within that time frame.

Any way you look at it, the point is, Green Bay has to decide soon how much longer Aaron Rodgers plays for them. The closer we get to that point, the less likely it seems that he’ll finish his career there.

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