After an offseason of scrutiny, we can safely say that Aaron Rodgers bought into Matt LaFleur’s leadership, scheme, and personality. Rodgers did nothing but praise his head coach and the culture he brought to the locker room. He was more willing to make checkdowns and put the ball in the hands of his running backs.
Rodgers finished the season with 4002 yards and 26 TDs. His stats don’t jump out as being much different than in 2018, but watching QB1 play showed he was willing to play within the offense and let his teammates carry some of the load. He wasn’t superhuman, but he didn’t have to be. His situational football is still incredible; watch some of his throws in the Divisional Round against Seattle and it’s clear Rodgers can still make plays no one else can.
But Rodgers can’t be Rodgers forever. He had his share of bad (by his standards) games this season, and he may not be able to singlehandedly win games the way he used to. I still believe Aaron Rodgers can get this team to another Super Bowl, but it isn’t stupid to think about what will happen next, either.
With only Rodgers, Tim Boyle, and Manny Wilkins on the roster, is it worth upgrading the quarterback room in 2020?
First, I think the best way for the Green Bay Packers to get extra value from their quarterback is to add to Rodgers’ supporting cast. Adding Emmanuel Sanders or Mohamed Sanu for a Day 2 pick wasn’t the right move; neither player elevated their team in a significant way, especially for the cost of a high draft pick. By standing strong and not wasting resources, the Packers got a clear view of the skill players on the roster. Allen Lazard and Jace Sternberger are going to be major players in this offense next year.
This draft class is loaded with talent at wide receiver and may be just as excellent as 2014 was. Because the Packers didn’t make a foolish trade, they have access to players who can contribute right away and continue playing at a high level in the final days of the Rodgers era. Running back and tight end look to be solidly loaded as well. Some new early-round weapons and maybe a nice Robby Anderson can make life easier for Aaron Rodgers.
It’s also important to keep in mind that this was year one of a new offense. Going to the NFCCG with a new offense is pretty impressive as it is. Think what another offseason will be like with the terminology and concepts immediately ingrained in everyone’s minds.
New weapons and more experience with the scheme should be enough to elevate Rodgers more, but what if he gets hurt?
There are an unusually high number of talented quarterbacks available via free agency this offseason, but few really make sense for the Packers. Are Tom Brady or Phillip Rivers really going to stay in the game just to back up Aaron Rodgers? Teddy Bridgewater will likely seek a starting job or else stay behind Brees to take over when he retires. Rodgers’ salary means Green Bay has a lot of money tied up in the position, and options like Marcus Mariota (despite LaFleur familiarity) and Jameis Winston would be too expensive to be a backup.
That leaves a host of journeymen that aren’t all that exciting. Chase Daniel, Chad Henne, and AJ McCarron really do anything for ya?
That being said, despite a large amount of Packer Nation being infatuated by his arm, I don’t see Tim Boyle as the answer. He’s a nice, developmental camp arm, but should Rodgers go down, I can’t see games being won.
Really, the Packers should draft a quarterback this year. The only question is when. The way Rodgers contract is set up means a rookie QB would be towards the end of their contract by the time Rodgers’ deal might expire. That’s less than ideal if you’re looking at a true successor. Unless the Packers try to trade up, the top options will be long gone by the time they have their first pick, regardless.
If someone they like falls in their range though, absolutely scoop them up. Otherwise, I think spending a 3rd-5th round pick on a promising talent is the way to go. Upgrade the backup position, and if they exceed expectations, maybe they do become the successor.
A final option I like is to try to trade a Day 3 pick for Josh Rosen. He clearly isn’t part of Miami’s future, and with as tumultuous as his career has started, learning from a legend like Aaron Rodgers might be the best thing for him.
Or maybe we lure Jay Cutler to Green Bay? He’s always been pretty good at throwing to Packers’ players.Matt Hendershott is a Packers fan and Miller High Life enthusiast from Northwest Ohio. He has a Master of Arts in Media and Communication from Bowling Green State University. You can follow him on Twitter @MattHendershott.