Extending Aaron Rodgers’ Time In Green Bay Comes At A Price

17 seasons. 206 starts. 4 MVP awards. 1 Super Bowl trophy. Aaron Rodgers accomplished it all while in Green Bay.

Explaining the impact that Rodgers has had on the Green Bay Packers ever since he was drafted back in 2005 is foolish – everyone understands just how great he has been. But holding onto NFL QBs for too long seems to be a tactic gaining steam in the league, a decision putting franchises back into purgatory while sacrificing their chance at a quick rebuild.

Lucking into two consecutive Hall of Fame quarterbacks is, in short, hard to do, and for the Packers to have done that but only having two Super Bowls to show for it is disappointing. But understanding there should have been more championship success while also appreciating the fact that there were two additions made to the trophy case is the right take to have here – many teams do not even have the luxury of experiencing one title during that same time period.

This offseason has been the culmination of many tumultuous decisions that the front office for Green Bay has made – from ‘alienating’ Rodgers by drafting Jordan Love to not queuing him into personnel decisions, it was seen as the likeliest of outcomes that the 2021 NFL season would be the final one with Rodgers wearing green and gold.

But after some sustained success (albeit coming up short yet again) and established clarity between Rodgers and the decision-makers above him, signs seem to be pointing to both parties wanting to run it back, as they say, and continue to build upon the base that has been set.

Being integrated more into what moves are made (like the acquisition of Randall Cobb) showcased the kind of pull Rodgers has ‘finally’ been given by Brian Gutekunst, but it also shows that he has all of the right cards in his hand and can do whatever he wants to, potentially forcing the team to be in a sticky situation.

But should we as a fan base want Rodgers to buck the recent trends and actually return for his 18th season in Green Bay? Well, it’s fair to want him back, but understanding why moving on from is important to consider as well.

A team moving on from a four-time MVP QB is unheard of, whether through retirement, release, or trade. But Green Bay is entering into unprecedented times, which may see the front office decide to take the unexpected route.

Recent reports have surfaced about the willingness to have a reclamation of sorts between both sides while feeding Rodgers record-setting money in the twilight of his career – dangerous moves to take for a franchise already in salary cap hell. As a comparison, the New Orleans Saints entered into this territory with Drew Brees a few seasons back, as he was handed a big-money deal towards the end of his career to help keep him in town while helping keep the team mostly together to field its best on-field product.

A key aspect of Brees’ contract was the back-loading elements of the deal, adding on ‘void years’ to the end of his deal so the team could spread any dead money from his deal to help alleviate the cap issues the team was faced with. Having not experienced the type of success they had hoped, this deal is still creating ramifications for the team to this day and will continue to next year and the years beyond.

Factoring the financials into the decision, and any sort of success (outside of at least one Super Bowl trophy) the team would have, and bringing Rodgers back would compound into a huge disaster for Green Bay, plain and simple.

Sure, the amount of flak the team and front office would catch if they moved on from Rodgers would dominate headlines for seasons to come, but they would at least be able to fully accelerate into their rebuild with the right assets and financial freedom that a team needs to restock the pantry.

And sure, the PR storm that Rodgers would surely lead on his way out of town would help keep the Packers in the headlines more than the league’s lone publicly-owned franchise would want, but again, they would be making a decision that sets themselves up to be right back into a window of competition sooner rather than later, regardless of if Love is the QB or not.

Rodgers is a member of the Packers but does not and should not have the final say in major decisions – many people have forgotten that lately, especially with how he has been incorporated into the headlines with his off-field comments. What he wants absolutely matters, especially with how much he has done for and with this team – but his feelings and desires are not what this team ultimately needs to base its decisions off of.

If 17 years ends up being for Rodgers, then this fan base has been extremely blessed for the last 17 years of Super Bowl trophies and awards. But extending his life span with the team longer than needed and overstaying his time here will only hurt his reputation and that of the team.

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Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23

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