Over the last few offseasons the largest storyline surrounding the Green Bay Packers has been whether or not their quarterback will return, but why now does it feel more real than ever before?
There are three main reasons that seem to be the cause, with the fourth being “because it’s the offseason and people are bored,” coming in just behind. And no, none of the main reasons are that he’s being “cast as the villain” due to his “stance on COVID,” as the man himself put it.
Salary Cap Concerns
It is well-known that the Packers will be hard-pressed to put together a competitive roster in 2023 for a multitude of reasons. To start, the roster didn’t look particularly competitive at many points during this season. They would have to stay as healthy as possible while reaping the benefits of huge development from their previous two draft classes in order to make a serious playoff run, mostly because they essentially can’t afford to bring any additional players onto the roster.
The Packers will, in fact, likely have to let some important players leave in free agency, as well as possibly let go of any players who have cap hits that don’t make sense. The alternative to letting these players go is rolling the dice on restructures and kicking the proverbial can even further down the road while inhibiting future rosters to a higher degree than they’ve already done. All of this would be in an effort to hopefully be competitive and maintain a chance at a championship.
Aaron Jones is on the books for 20 million dollars next year, which is the highest single season cap number for a running back in league history. Adrian Amos is the only trustworthy veteran at safety the Packers had in 2022, because let’s not act like Darnell Savage fits that criteria, and he is a free agent. That doesn’t even cover the fact that there are guys that Rodgers has openly stated he would want back on the roster.
If the Packers found some way to bring every one of Jones, Amos, Crosby, Bakhtiari, Tonyan, Lewis, and Cobb back into the mix in 2023, it would be mostly to appease the quarterback, and it could come at the cost of their future after Rodgers.
With a salary cap hit of 31 million dollars next year and an ever rising number in future years, many fans want the organization to part ways with Rodgers as soon as possible in order to get away from some of that responsibility. Many people believe the future of the Green Bay Packers should start now. There are some young developing players on the roster, and they will need to be paid at some point. Some feel that with a head start on rebuilding, this team may be extending those players and competing for championships in a new era in only a few years.
Something that also helps with building for a new era is acquiring valuable draft capital from the trade of a four-time MVP quarterback.
Rodgers Sub-Par Performance in 2022
I don’t want to fan the flames of this argument too much, because while Rodgers failed to look like a top-ten quarterback statistically, he played with a broken thumb while two rookies caught more of his passes than any receiver on the roster not named Allen Lazard.
Still, the fact remains that some Packers fans seem more ready than ever to move on from a 50 million dollar quarterback who didn’t seem to elevate the play of those around him to the degree they felt he should have in 2022.
There is definitely plenty of noise from fans about how it would be best to cut ties with Rodgers and reap all of the previously mentioned benefits such as cap space, draft capital for a rebuild, and so on.
Jordan Love is Ready to Play or Leave
There have been a number of reports that suggest Jordan Love will request a trade if he’s not in line for the starting role in 2023, and of course this is the case entering his fourth year in the league as a first round backup quarterback.
This is the first time we’ve heard significant reporting about Jordan Love being disgruntled, and naturally the discourse will shift to one quarterback or the other being traded. With Jordan Love looking very solid in the limited snaps he had last year, some fans are naturally ready to move on from Rodgers and into what may be a bright future with Love.
Ultimately the biggest argument in favor of Love starting is that he would be unlikely, with a smaller cap hit and therefore a more complete roster, to play a lot worse than Rodgers did in 2022. Whether or not this is the case remains to be seen, but I think we’re all at least a bit curious.
When Will This Discourse End?
Ultimately these discussions won’t ever cease until Rodgers finds himself on a new team or retires. If he remains a Packer in 2023 this story will pick right back up at the conclusion of next season, whether we like it or not, because that’s kind of been the nature of the beast for the past few years.
All of that is to say that if it is announced that Rodgers will remain with the team for 2023, this story will not be over; it will simply be put on pause for a little while.——————
Zack is a college student and cheesehead from California. When he’s not in class or writing, you can find him talking about the Packers on Twitter at @Zack_Upchurch.