James Jones has spent enough time around Aaron Rodgers to know what happens when he plays with a chip on his shoulder — and that’s exactly what he’s expecting for 2020.
Rodgers’ future seemed secure for years to come with the Green Bay Packers until last month when they traded up and selected Utah State quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the NFL draft. The pick has left some, including Jones, to question whether Rodgers will be allowed to play out his current contract through the 2023 season or be forced out the door sooner.
Still, Jones believes the latest challenge to Rodgers’ status as Packers starting quarterback will only see him ascend to MVP heights next season, as he said Thursday morning during a guest appearance on The Pat McAfee Show.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if Aaron Rodgers wins MVP this year, man,” Jones told McAfee. “He’s a guy who’s always going to accept a challenge, who’s always going to rise to the occasion. And now you have a guy in the first round who’s eventually going to have to play. We don’t know if it’s four years, two years, we don’t know if it’s going to be 10. But we know when you take a guy in the first round, they are going to want to see him play before his contract is up.”
Aaron Rodgers knows that. He was one of those guys who was drafted in the first round and had those opportunities. So he knows to push that back you have to play at a high level. And I believe Aaron Rodgers is going to come out and he’s going to win MVP this year. He’s going to have a chip on his shoulder, that he already had. He’s a perfectionist. I’ve been around the guy for a very long time. He’s a competitor. He’s going to want to show the world that ‘This is my team, this is my job for a very long time.’”
Follow the Heavy on Packers Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Packers Picking Love Also Left Jones ‘Surprised’
Jones hasn’t been catching passes from Rodgers since his final year in the league in 2015, but the longtime Packers receiver has been keeping up with his former team and, like many, was expecting to see a wide receiver taken in the first round — or any round, for that matter.
“I was surprised just like everybody else was surprised,” Jones continued later. “You take Jordan Love… you were in the NFC championship game, we’re all watching the NFC championship game like ‘Man, if they could get another guy on the other side of Davante Adams, if they could maybe add another pass rusher on defense, they could be right there. And then you’re waiting in the draft — here comes the receiver — and you see quarterback, and it’s like ‘My goodness.’ You were in the NFC championship, Aaron Rodgers’ first year in your system … I was surprised, but then I sat back and thought about it. Aaron Rodgers is 36 years old, whenever he did get hurt or did go down, the backup quarterback didn’t do that well, and the season is gone because we lost the best player on our team. You want to prepare for situations like that.
“I don’t think Jordan Love is going to get in the game for about three or four years because I think Aaron has a lot of football left in him, but I understand why they did it.”
Rodgers has said much of the same in light of his new situation. He knows his career is now a little less within his control, but the 36-year-old quarterback also believes he can overcome whatever challenge might come his way regarding his job.
At a minimum, Rodgers seems likely to remain in Green Bay for the next two seasons — after which his contract offers a potential out if the Packers choose to move on — but the bigger question seems to be how the Packers will evaluate the readiness of Love behind the scenes. They could also wait until Rodgers’ deal expires heading into 2024, but then Love will have spent four years as a backup and need a new contract without much game experience.
Until then, all we can do is wait and see if Jones’ prediction comes to pass.