Aaron Rodgers’ drama “will he” or “will he not” with the Packers has reached its anti-climate end with the start of training camp. Long after an explosive report from ESPN during the 2021 NFL Draft that suggested Rodgers wanted to leave Green Bay, the NFL Network reported on Monday. he plans to stay and play the season.
For three long months from late April to late July, Rodgers provided little clarity on the situation. He’s had a busy offseason away from the field that saw him host “Jeopardy!”, Venture out with his fiancee, co-win the “The Match 4” golf challenge and win an NBA Championship ring. as a minority owner of the Milwaukee Bucks. Rodgers said he used the time to work on his sanity, without confirming or denying that he would return to the Packers in time for training camp.
While Rodgers’ spring absence from voluntary training and mandatory organized team activities was unprecedented for his career, there was no indication that he wouldn’t be there when it matters most during the preseason. With the possibility of losing real money in the camp, the report date of July 27 had always been the real deadline.
That doesn’t mean things between Rodgers and Packers are so perfect that the reigning NFL MVP quarterback will also be excited to play for them in 2022 beyond. Packers chairman Mark Murphy told reporters a “difficult situation” remained to fully appease Rodgers. GM Brian Gutekunst has previously admitted Rodgers was correct that the team mismanaged communication regarding the drafting of QB Jordan Love’s first round in 2020.
But Rodgers’ break with management was not enough for him to respond with a genuine demand for a short-term withdrawal or trade. Here are the reasons why anything other than his report for the opening of the camp didn’t make sense:
Much of Rodgers’ elite success as a great and infallible Hall of Famer is the fact that he always plays the game with a chip on his shoulder. It had been a long time since he had been forgotten by major college programs, slipped to 24th in the 2005 draft and had to wait to start behind Brett Favre to begin his career. But the fire within him continued to rage, further fueled by signs of disrespect.
You can bet on the selection of Love instead of a supporting offensive player who upped Rodgers, at 36, to kick off his questionable best NFL season in the face of the Packers in 2020. Now there has been the Rodgers’ unfair portrayal of being a selfish player who doesn’t believe he can win a second ring at Green Bay despite all the seasons he’s lifted the team.
Rodgers didn’t suddenly prefer hosting a game show or playing professional golf. He’s just that talented of a modern Renaissance man. He also always likes to prove that there is no one better quarterback. He can’t do this if he doesn’t play. Rodgers missing a season with several years left of excellence was not in his nature, especially with more reason to burn inside.
Rodgers isn’t the kind of player to let his teammates down, either. It’s no accident that he has a lot of good friends on offense as he has worked to make them better. Ultimately, he’s not playing for or with Murphy or Gutekunst, but for an attacking-minded coach similar to his peers in Matt LaFleur and many other talented grinders.
He wants to be there for his favorite receiver Davante Adams to help him maximize his next contract. He wants to help running back Aaron Jones and tight end Robert Tonyan meet their new contracts. He wants to enjoy a lot more of that great chemistry he has with his offensive linemen.
Rodgers, when he appeared on Kenny Mayne’s last ESPN “SportsCenter” show, kept mentioning that the “people” in the organization were the most important thing. He made it clear that between his teammates and LaFleur, the Packers have a winning culture and character. Rodgers’ introspective individuality is often misinterpreted. He doesn’t want to do things his way, only the right way. The environment for the Green Bay players is good and it is difficult for Rodgers to part with it.
According to a new ESPN report last week, Rodgers turned down a two-year contract extension until 2025 that would have made him once again the highest-paid quarterback and player in the NFL. While the focus has been on Rodgers allegedly declining another big money raise, that ignores a strong possibility. It was likely another favorable deal for the team that would still give the Packers favorable possibilities to sign with Rodgers in the near future.
This is not the case in 2021. The Packers would still absorb $ 38.356 million in dead money affected over two years by moving Rodgers now with limited savings of $ 16 million that are of little use to them now with salaries for their list in place. Before June 1 of next year, Rodgers can be traded at a cost of just $ 17.2 million in dead money with larger cap relief from that, $ 22.6 million.
Based on Rodgers’ contract parameters, 2022 has always been the most achievable break year if the Packers were to commit to Love before his rookie contract ended. For Rodgers and the Packers in 2021, the best choice was for him to play one more season.
No, that doesn’t mean the Packers gave Rodgers a lifetime supply of cheese curds, nachos, kids, pretzels and beer. It’s about using 2021 as a bridge season to fix the remaining issues Rodgers has with the team.
ESPN reports that instead of including an expansion with preferred settings that further locks the Packers into Rodgers, the team would agree to reduce the length of the deal so he can become an unrestricted, unlabeled free agent a year earlier in 2023. In the short term, they would work to find solutions to Rodgers’ issues with the organization before committing to reassessing the situation after the season.
The Packers would put actions behind their words to prove their commitment to Rodgers, but at the same time, would still give Rodgers what he wanted and a chance to be transparent about a potential succession plan involving Love.
Rodgers once reminded Packers fans how to spell RELAX after the start of Team 1-2’s 2014 season. Green Bay finished 12-4 and lost a heartbreaking NFC title game to the Seahawks. The team had a similar disappointing end to the 2020 playoffs, with a big comeback against the failed Tom Brady Buccaneers.
Rodgers is not the type to say or do something reckless out of frustration, on or off the pitch. He has a cool, arrogant demeanor reminiscent of many best QBs of all time. Despite his displeasure at the way the Packers disrespected him, there was no sense of panic that leaving Green Bay right away would be the only acceptable solution. Like his good reading of the field and the green, Rodgers thought more of the long game than the quick fix.
By playing now as a happy camper, Rodgers has ensured that he and the Packers have a much better chance of getting what they want later on, whether they’re still together or apart.