Aaron Rodgers is playing football for the Green Bay Packers this season.
That means you can breathe easy if you are a Packers fan or have already picked up a lot of Packers skill guys in best ball drafts.
It also means if you were taking a lot of flyers on some pass catchers in Denver, for example, with the hope that maybe the Broncos could trade for Rodgers, it’s time to go ahead and hope that Drew Lock can show some Josh Allen-like improvement in year three.
My fervent belief in Rodgers playing for the Packers also should be taken into consideration for any of you that are inclined to throw in some season win total bets anytime soon for either the Pack or any of the teams previously rumored to be in the mix for the reigning league MVP.
Why am I so confident? Lots of reasons I suppose but, more than anything, the comments that Rodgers has made himself recently.
Let’s start with “The Match” in Montana on July 6th when Rodgers was asked if he would be playing for the Packers in Week 1.
“I don’t know. We’ll see, won’t we.”
My former player antenna went up immediately because every time I had a teammate that was really upset with the organization, or even just watching other malcontents around the league, their temperament and language were way different than that of Rodgers.
Either personally or through an intermediary, likely a media mouthpiece or their agent, they made it very clear they would never play for the organization again and “demanded” a trade. And even then, they would still come back to the team a decent amount of the time, often with some sort of minor adjustment to their contract.
What about retirement, you say?
Like Blutarsky’s GPA in Animal House (check it out, millennials, it’s amazing), the chances of that happening are 0.0.
First of all, Rodgers would have to pay back $23 million in signing bonus proration and the $6.8 million roster bonus he got earlier this offseason. He’s not doing that. Nobody does that.
Secondly, again, just listen to what he has said publicly on the matter, most recently at the American Century Golf event in Lake Tahoe.
When asked his plans he said he was going to enjoy the heck out of the week in Nevada and then “get back to working out and figure things out in a couple of weeks”.
Guys that are seriously considering retirement don’t proclaim they are going to get back to working out.
That’s not to say he will show up for the first day of training camp. He’s taken it this far and genuinely seems to enjoy the intrigue and attention that stems from his uncertain status. He might decide to take it a little further for multiple reasons.
For one, he doesn’t really need to be there for the first couple weeks of training camp and, according to former Packers executive Andrew Brandt on a recent Ross Tucker Football Podcast, the Packers might not feel like they need him there right away either.
“You know my saying: Deadlines spur action,” Brandt told me, “And somehow I don’t think training camp is the deadline for Aaron and the Packers. What is it? Late August? Early September? He doesn’t need training camp. … I don’t think training camp is the deadline at all. And secretly like (with) minicamp, the Packers wouldn’t mind that because they could give (backup quarterback) Jordan Love real reps.”
There are other, more logic-based reasons to think Rodgers isn’t going anywhere.
He’s smart enough to realize his best chance to get to and win another Super Bowl, which by all accounts is a huge priority of his, is in Green Bay. For all the handwringing over some of their draft picks he still has arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL in Davante Adams, a perennial Pro Bowl left tackle in David Bakhtiari, and one of the top ten running backs in the game in Aaron Jones. Where’s he going right now where the people around him would be better than that?
Plus, he thrived in Matt LaFleur’s system a year ago. Do we really think he believes he has a better chance to win it all this year in a loaded AFC in general and going head-to-head with Patrick Mahomes in the AFC West in particular, while acclimating himself to new teammates in Denver or Las Vegas, two of the much-rumored teams? Of course not.
Besides all that, there is one more very simple reason why Rodgers will play for the Packers this season: he doesn’t really have a choice.
“They’re not trading Aaron,” Brandt told me, “And he can’t trade himself.”
So, then what exactly is the end game here?
“I think he’ll play for the Packers this year … and somewhere else in 2022,” said Brandt. “He’ll make some noise at training camp … there’ll be some kind of acquiescence by the Packers, either financial or adjust his contract so easier to get out next year but something will happen so they kiss and make up.”
And most importantly for our purposes, barring injury Rodgers will play in every game this season for the Green Bay Packers.