Could Rodgers still stay in Green Bay?
By: Noah Nichols
When the news broke that Aaron Rodgers no longer wanted to play for the Green Bay Packers, his only team for his entire career, it shocked a lot of people.
Others, not so much. Those people agreed with Rodgers, in a way. The Packers had just taken a quarterback in the first round of the NFL draft a year before. Instead of helping their Hall of Fame quarterback to get over the NFC Championship hump, (that seems to plague the Packers), they literally did the only thing that would not help him whatsoever.
In the 2021 NFL draft, the Packers did add a speedy, playmaking wide receiver. They still have one of the best one-two punches at running back in the league. But Rodgers wants more than that. As he should. There are three things that the Packers can do to bring him back to play at Lambeau again. And they should do one, or more of these things if they want any shot at winning a Lombardi.
1: Extend Rodgers
There were reports that the Packers were working on a contract extension with Rodgers. He certainly deserves one. His contract extension ends in two years. If the Packers want to save money and help save their relationship with Rodgers, they should extend him.
Not only can they move money into the future, helping them enter a “win now” mode, but Rodgers gets what he feels he deserves. More money. And with the quarterback market being reset by Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, Rodgers would make a LOT of money. Would this contract be worth more than Mahomes or Watson?
Probably not. Both Mahomes and Watson are much younger than Rodgers. And for all his greatness, he has an injury history, and age does not make one any healthier. If Rodgers were to come to an agreement with the Packers on a contract extension, it would probably look a little like this. An additional three years, making him signed for the next five years, and another 90 million dollars added to his current contract.
With Rodgers due almost 40 million next year, the Packers would also be able to push some of that money into the future, maybe 15 million, bringing his cap hit down next year, while still giving him the money he wants. His new contract would be worth around 150 million dollars, and he would make on average 30 million per year. Not a market reset, but certainly reasonable for a 37-year-old quarterback, no matter his talent.
2: Bring Back Jake Kumerow
This might seem like a surprise, but it is a big deal to Rodgers. He was reportedly “furious” when the Packers released Kumerow. During an interview on Sirius XM, Rodgers said of Kumerow: “I think he’s a fantastic, steady player, who’s very heady on the field. He makes plays, he plays with a lot of coincidence, and he’s a guy who you love having on the squad.”
Clearly, Rodgers liked have Kumerow on the team. He was also frustrated that the Packers did not consult him before they released Kumerow. To Rodgers, Kumerow was someone that Rodgers could depend on. He was or is, probably good friends with Kumerow off the field. Rodgers probably felt like he lost a friend and a dependable player. Any quarterback wants those things out of a receiver, no matter how great they are. Look at Tom Brady with Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman, and Ben Roethlisberger with Heath Miller and Antonio Brown. Sure those players were better than Kumerow, but the idea is the same. Quarterbacks have someone they prefer to throw to. They typically don’t appreciate it when that player is released, especially without their knowledge.
Even if the Packers don’t bring back Kumerow, (which is probably unlikely, due to the receiver they drafted, Amari Rodgers), they can still learn from this mistake. The Packers can approach Rodgers, and let him know that from now on, he will have intimate knowledge, and say, in the Packers roster. But they should take a look at bringing Kumerow back, if for no other reason than to appease Rodgers.
3: Fire Brian Gutekunsk and have Rodgers take his place as GM
This final option is a half-truth, half-joke. Rodgers reportedly does want Gutekunst, the Packers General Manager, fired. But Rodgers would not take his place. Instead, Rodgers would have a heavy influence in two things. First, whoever became the next GM. And second, anything that the new GM did to the Packers roster.
That could be the release, signing, or restructuring of a player, anything to do with the roster. Rodgers might not care about the defense, but he would at least have a voice in the room that the GM would have to listen to. And if the GM chose not to listen to him, Rodgers could simply say that he won’t play again.
All three of these options could happen, independently, or altogether. If all three were to happen there is no doubt that Rodgers would have gotten what he wants. He would have his new contract, new GM, and a much larger influence on the construction of the Packers roster. If the Packers want Rodgers back, they need to do at least one of these three options, if not all of them.