OPINION: Just Another Week: Waiting On Rodgers Could Cost Packers Big
The game of chicken the Green Bay Packers are playing with quarterback Aaron Rodgers might already have been more costly than it’s worth.
While Rodgers hasn’t said much publicly, there have been numerous reports that he isn’t happy and that he isn’t going to play for the Packers. To which the Packers have simply said, “we’re not trading him.”
Many who know Rodgers or at least have an idea of how he operates have said they think he’s stubborn enough to hold out and never play for the organization again. It isn’t a stretch, just ask his brother how bullheaded the quarterback can be. Then again, Rodgers refusal to draw a hard line publicly has left the window open to a return, as former teammate James Jones suggested last week.
But what if he doesn’t?
The Packers already passed on what could’ve been the third overall pick from San Francisco in the 2021 NFL draft or the ninth pick from Denver with future draft picks also coming. Should they trade Rodgers now, it’s unlikely they’d ever see a pick inside the top 20 in return.
They should’ve learned from the Brett Favre saga when they convinced him to retire knowing they wanted to move on anyway. When he came back officially, they had to wait and only got a second-round pick in exchange for a player who finished second in MVP voting the prior year. Had they let him take his time on a retirement announcement then traded him, they could’ve gotten much more in return.
If the Packers were to trade Rodgers now, they’d surely get three first round picks and a couple other quality players. If Rodgers were to sit out the 2021 season, they might still get a first round pick, but nothing is guaranteed. Add to the fact that Houston’s Deshaun Watson and Seattle’s Russell Wilson are also likely to be available and it’ll be a buyer’s market when it comes to franchise quarterbacks. If teams are going to mortgage the future by giving up three first rounders, they’ll surely target the younger quarterbacks over Rodgers, who will be 38 years old next offseason.
More than the assets the team would get from trading Rodgers, there’s something to be said about the mentality of begging him to come back. Surely coach Matt LaFleur getting teary-eyed when discussing the situation doesn’t bode well for Rodgers’ eventual replacement, Jordan Love.
Love playing while Rodgers sits out surely would put a huge weight on his shoulders, especially knowing the MVP could show up at any given moment.
Now the question is, what’s it worth?
It’s hard to blame the Packers for waiting Rodgers out, even if Love maximizes his potential, he’s not likely to ever be as good as Rodgers was last year. But what about prior to last year? Rodgers wasn’t a great quarterback from 2017 to 2019. He got angry and he played his butt off in 2020, but it’s a safe bet that won’t happen again.
Even if Rodgers returns, there will be endless questions about what the disagreement was about and what the future holds. It seems impossible for that to not weigh the team down. Maybe he plays angry again in 2021, but knowing the future isn’t in Green Bay, regardless, maybe he just tries to not get hurt.
If Love is the player the Packers think they drafted, they shouldn’t be afraid to turn to him. In his second year, he should be ready to go and lead a playoff, or even a Super Bowl, run. If they move now, they could trade Rodgers for an endless amount of riches to help Love going forward.
If the plan is to move on from Rodgers before the 2022 season anyway, why go through all of this drama?