Aaron Rodgers is ready to move on from the Green Bay Packers. That became clear Wednesday during Rodgers’ regular appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show.” Rodgers said he wants to play next season, but not with the Packers. It doesn’t appear the Packers will stop him.
It looks like the most likely landing place for Rodgers is the New York Jets, who just signed former Packers receiver Allen Lazard, a Rodgers favorite, to a four-year, $44 million deal. All the Packers need to do is figure out the return on a trade with the Jets, who will need to give up a bundle, and Rodgers will be history in Green Bay.
Quite a resume
History is a good word to describe Rodgers’ 18 seasons in Green Bay. He won a Super Bowl and was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player four times. He was so dangerous that no game seemed out of reach. The Packers were a perennial contender because of him. There’s no doubt he’ll end up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and his No. 12 will be retired.
But is Rodgers past tense? How much does he have left in him? Will he rise to the occasion, or will his decline continue? The Jets are going to find out. Rodgers will be 40 in December. He played through two injuries last season. He’s not Superman anymore. But he’s better than Jets quarterback Zach Wilson, the second pick in the 2021 draft, who has shown he’s not ready for the NFL. Rodgers could be a great mentor for Wilson, if he wants to.
Time for Love
Meanwhile, back in Green Bay, the Packers need a fresh start at quarterback. Rodgers’ salary is hurting the team, which is reshaping its roster. It’s time for former first-round draft pick Jordan Love to get his chance, just like Rodgers did after he patiently waited for Brett Favre to say goodbye (and go to the Jets, of all teams).
Love, who played his college ball at Utah State, has spent four years in Green Bay. His rookie season was the COVID year, he was in the shadows for back-to-back MVP seasons by Rodgers, then he showed his promise last season during brief appearances. On Nov. 22, he replaced Rodgers in a game against the Philadelphia Eagles and completed 6 of 9 for 113 yards and a touchdown. He had a 146.8 passer rating.
The Packers’ window for NFC championships has closed. It’s time for a rebuild. The team won 39 regular-season games and had a shot at winning the NFC Conference title in Matt LaFleur’s first three years as coach, but couldn’t get the job done. Last season was a disaster. The Packers started 4-8, made a run, but couldn’t beat the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field in a win-or-else game for the playoffs on the final night of the regular season. Like Favre, Rodgers’ apparent final pass for the Packers was intercepted in an elimination game.