Who will be Aaron Rodgers’ successor?
Seems like an odd question to ask at this point to ask during his career, doesn’t it?
With Rodgers in the midst of a Hall of Fame career, and having just turned 30 years old in December, why would anyone want to project when the time is right to think about his heir apparent?
This is question which was posed to the audience of Green and Gold Today last week, and one which was rightfully met with some resistance by the listeners of the show. Thinking about the end of this era of unparalleled quarterback play while it is still going on is scary to some, and unknown to everyone.
Yet the time to think about life after Rodgers is sooner than most want to admit.
In fact, we should already be considering it.
The 2013 season was a trying one for the green and gold faithful. Watching their all world quarterback suffer a broken collar bone was painful. Even more painful than the quarterback’s broken clavicle was the struggles at the quarterback position the Packers endured before Matt Flynn was able to stabilize it before Rodgers was able to return.
The Packers were fortunate that Rodgers was able to return from this injury. All indications are that he is fully recovered and ready to lead the team in 2014 in what will hopefully result in a Super Bowl victory.
But for one minute, let’s speculate worst case scenario about this injury.
What if Rodgers decided that one play, the one which broke his collarbone and nearly ended his season, was enough for him. That the pain endured, the rehab involved, and the health risks involved with playing the game were too much to handle. And based on this one play, Rodgers decided that he was done, and walked away from the game.
Scary thing to think about, isn’t it?
Yet the reality is it could happen at anytime. Not saying it is going to happen, just saying it could happen.
This is why it is never too early to think about life after Rodgers, and plan for his future.
One of the tricky parts of being an NFL General Manager when you have a quarterback as talented as Rodgers is knowing when the time is right to address the future when the present is still taking place.
Fortunately Ted Thompson has been down this road before. His drafting of Rodgers in the first round in 2005 with Brett Favre still on the roster signaled that the Favre era was closer than many wanted to admit. But Rodgers was selected to be the heir apparent at a time most didn’t want to address the issue.
With regards to Rodgers, the disaster at the backup quarterback position in 2013 when he was out of action may be the nudge Thompson needs to start thinking about the future while Rodgers is still playing.
If the Packers learned nothing else from last season, it is they simply cannot go into 2014 with their fingers crossed nothing will happen to Rodgers again.
Now does this mean that they should go out and draft a quarterback in the first round of next month’s draft and proclaim him as Rodgers successor? No, not at all. For all we know, Scott Tolzien may very well be that player. He could experience rapid development this offseason and become much more than an intriguing story line (Wisconsin alum playing for the Packers) for the fans to follow.
Then again, he may not. And this is where thinking about what life without Aaron Rodgers should be something Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy are at least thinking about at this time.
It would be interesting to see what would happen if a top QB prospect such as Johnny Manziel or Teddy Bridgewater fell in the draft, and the Packers had the opportunity to select one of them. Would Thompson pull the trigger and draft for the future with the present still taking place?
It is never too early for the Packers to plan for life after Aaron Rodgers.
John Rehor is a writer at PackersTalk.com.
He can also be heard as one of the Co-Hosts of Cheesehead Radio. ---------------------
He can also be heard as one of the Co-Hosts of Cheesehead Radio.You can follow John on twitter at jrehor or email him at [email protected].