For much of the season, Aaron Rodgers looked like he had regressed to his 2018 McCarthy-coached self. He was holding the ball, forcing the P on RPOs, and missing easy passes, all while showing bad body language. Then the team got to the bye week.
Since then, Rodgers has improved each week (admittedly against a few bad teams) and the Packers are this close to controlling their destiny. Win this week while Washington loses and they’re in with a win. So, a few months after many Packers fans, including myself, asked if Jordan Love should replace him, the question has moved to whether he should stay for another season or two.
If he stays
As far as Rodgers’ ability goes, ask a Packers fan a month ago and they might argue that he’s washed up. Now, with the thumb healed or at least much better, Rodgers is showing glimpses of elite arm talent again. Give him year 2 Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson and maybe add a veteran to the mix and it certainly wouldn’t be surprising for Rodgers to have one final top 3-5 QB season.
We should understand how hard it is to field a super bowl team. The Packers had a QB with generational arm talent and the mind to match and haven’t even reached the super bowl in 11 straight seasons. We know that Rodgers could have what it takes to be a super bowl winning QB, as long as that is true, invest in him.
If he goes
I doubt Rodgers wants this blah season to be his last, so if he leaves, I’d guess it’s through a trade. There are two obvious options: the 49ers and the Jets. In both cases he’d gain equal or superior weapons on offense and a far better defense.
We’ve all seen the graphics showing that Rodgers has played on a team with a top 10 defense only a few times in his Packers’ tenure, going to one of these teams that has the offense firepower to turn those forced Ps on RPOs into huge gains and stop the other team has to be appealing for Rodgers.
I don’t think the Packers would get the Russel Wilson deal in a trade but gaining some more draft capital to pair with a few tryout years for Jordan Love isn’t a terrible thing either.
I would bet on Rodgers staying in Green Bay for one more year. He can ensure a better ending to his Packers tenure to juice up his legacy and it seems like he really has fixed his relationship with management.
The final part of the equation is what happens to Love if Rodgers stays. It seems like Gutekunst and co are ready to pull the trigger on Jordan Love’s high-priced fifth-year option. Are they ready to have him spend another year on the bench?
My guess is that Love would hit the trading block as soon as Rodgers decides to come back. For better or worse, the current administration is tied to Rodgers now, so you may as well try to convert assets into weapons for him.
Love went in the first and there were, reportedly, multiple teams willing to take him then, and has since developed under one of the best QB minds in the league for a few years. You have to think Love should fetch a first in a potential trade. Will Levis is the same type of college QB, about six months younger than Love, and projected to go in the top 5. Why wouldn’t a QB needy team in the teens or twenties bet on Love?
Mike Price is a lifelong Packers fan currently living in Utah. You can follow him on twitter at @themikeprice.