After Sunday's dramatic NFC Championship loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers raised some speculation about his future with the only franchise he's ever played for. Apparently he had a pretty understandable angle for doing so.
“A lot of guys futures, they’re uncertain, myself included,” Rodgers told the media after the loss. It was a pretty surprising admission from the likely 2020 MVP, given how successful his season was. While the 2020 NFL Draft selection of Jordan Love continues to leave looming questions, there's no chance that the Packers would willingly give Rodgers up after the year he just had.
Matt LaFleur didn't seem to think Rodgers' place on the team was in question when asked about the quarterback's comments. “I sure as hell hope so…” LaFleur said after the game. “Hell yeah, he better be back here.”
ACcording to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, Rodgers may have had a very specific goal for bringing his future up after the game: he wants a new contract. Just a few years after signing a new deal that put him near the top of the NFL in pay, we've seen a litany of quarterback contracts jump ahead of him, led by the historic deal signed by Patrick Mahomes. While it may not be reasonable for the 37-year old to command that kind of deal, he could certainly seek more average annual money, and as Florio says, it would be deserved.
"Per a league source, Rodgers wants a new contract," Florio wrote. "Rodgers should want a new contract. He makes $33.5 million per year. He’s going to win the 2020 NFL MVP award. And he’s getting into the later years of his last deal, which will pay him far less in comparison to other quarterbacks."
Rodgers is behind Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, Russell Wilson, and Ben Roethlisberger, and tied with Jared Goff, a far inferior quarterback, in terms of average pay. A new deal could be mutually beneficial as well; the Packers may be able to reduce the aging QB's cap hit, opening up room to get him help and/or shore up the defense for another run at the Super Bowl. With how close Green Bay just got, and coming off of back-to-back NFC Championships, the Packers have to try and take advantage of their window however possible right now.
Rodgers has a cap number in excess of $37 million for 2021, but a new contract easily could reduce it. A new deal also would reflect the team’s commitment to Rodgers over the next few years, based on the guaranteed payments and the cap consequences arising from cutting or trading him.
If Rodgers officially asks for a new contract, he’ll definitely get one thing: Clarity as to where he stands. A new deal means renewed vows. No new deal means the clock will still tick toward a potential, if not inevitable, divorce.
Last year, Aaron Rodgers' somewhat muted 2019 season and the Jordan Love draft pick made the Packers one of the stories of the offseason. This year they'll occupy that spot once again, but this time because of Rodgers' resurgence, the comments he made after Sunday's game, and whatever comes after.