Packers-Aaron Rodgers saga is a story of two generations
NFC North Reporter
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers appeared on-screen to almost 500,000 viewers of the Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday prefer it was every other day. His hair was cropped quick. He had a full salt-and-pepper beard that confirmed his 39 years and was carrying an understated cowl-neck charcoal sweater.
There was one factor out of the unusual, although.
He seemed to be carrying his Green Bay Packers Super Bowl ring.
Even again in 2010, these rings weren’t meant for on a regular basis put on. They’re large. And in Rodgers’ personal phrases, he does the whole lot with intentionality.
The ring isn’t any totally different and Rodgers minced no phrases.
“I’m debatably the best player in Packers history,” he mentioned.
While true, he, just like the championship he gained in Green Bay after the 2010 season, can be historical past. The Packers are transferring on, even when Rodgers is attempting to not allow them to neglect him as he strikes on himself.
“At this point, as I sit here, I think since Friday, I made it clear that my intention was to play and my intention was to play for the New York Jets,” Rodgers mentioned definitively.
He went on to color an image of being misled by the Packers group, whereas insisting there was no dangerous blood between him and the franchise. Going into his ‘darkness retreat’ for 5 days and 4 nights, he was underneath the impression the Packers would enable him to take as a lot time as he wished to decide on whether or not he was retiring.
“If you want to come back and play, obviously the door’s wide open,” he mentioned the Packers instructed him.
“When I came out of the darkness, something changed.”
But in hindsight, it appears transferring on had been the Packers’ intention all alongside.
The 2022 season did not go the best way the Packers wished it to. They missed the playoffs for the primary time underneath Matt LaFleur. Even confronted with beginning a number of rookie extensive receivers previous to the season, they did not budge or attempt to purchase veterans. They weren’t in win-now mode. They have been prioritizing youth and creating gamers.
“Even towards the end of the season, it felt like everybody was ready to move on,” mentioned Rodgers. “I was interested in what the conversation would be the week after the season but it was pretty obvious.”
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Throughout the course of the season, issues turned extra clear. It more and more regarded like two generations have been at odds: Rodgers and his contingent of gamers left from years previous like Randall Cobb and Marcedes Lewis vs. the brand new regime like Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs, ready for Jordan Love to take the reins.
There was speak about sitting Rodgers down the stretch when the Packers had only a 3% probability of constructing the playoffs, and seeing how far Love had come. That did not occur. Rodgers made certain of it — whilst he battled by means of a damaged thumb.
But Green Bay is now not being held again by Rodgers’ intentions. All that is left to work out is compensation. As a lot as Rodgers appeared hell-bent on condemning them for the holdup on his commerce to New York, if he solely knew for sure on Friday that he wished to go there, you will forgive the Packers for needing a number of days to work out precisely what compensation they’re going to want from the Jets.
“It’s my intention to play for the Jets. But I’m still under contract with the Packers. So yeah, they got no leverage, either,” mentioned Rodgers.
That complicates issues.
If Rodgers is traded, the Packers will tackle a large dead-cap hit to the tune of $40.3 million with a pre-June 1st commerce, in line with Spotrac. That would not go away them a ton of room to maneuver and means draft capital is at a premium. The excellent news: they consider they’ve Rodgers’ successor in home, and few holes to fill.
Love has apparently taken a step ahead, as properly. Not solely has he obtained the endorsement of basic supervisor Brian Gutekunst this complete time, he now has the endorsement of Rodgers himself.
“He’s gonna be a great player,” mentioned Rodgers. “He’s a great kid. He had a really good year this year, getting better, you know, on the look-team. He’s got a bright future in front of him. They got a good young team.”
That’s the place the Packers stand now. They are ascending and have already got gotten their younger gamers loads of sport expertise. Watson and Doubs may flip right into a formidable receiving duo. Love may even take pleasure in a strong run sport, with the Packers retaining Aaron Jones alongside A.J. Dillon. The Green Bay protection ought to stay as much as its roster this season as properly.
It’s nearly as good of a state of affairs as any for a younger quarterback making his first actual begins within the league. Love has spent the final three years studying, simply as his predecessor earlier than him. The state of affairs bears an eerie resemblance to Rodgers’ personal begin within the league. He sat behind Brett Favre for the primary three seasons of his profession, enjoying in simply seven video games in that span earlier than Favre was traded to the New York Jets.
It could also be a brand new entrance workplace from the one which drafted Rodgers however there’s a clear technique right here — and it is one which works.
The total division is reshaped by Rodgers’ potential departure. A brand new period of gamers is taking on. But with how ready Green Bay appears to make this transition, it could nonetheless find yourself being a well-recognized staff on high but once more.
Carmen Vitali covers the NFC North for FOX Sports. Carmen had earlier stops with The Draft Network and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. She spent six seasons with the Bucs, together with 2020, which added the title of Super Bowl Champion (and boat-parade participant) to her résumé. You can observe Carmen on Twitter at @CarmieV.
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