The quarterback revealed to media members that he has been playing with a broken thumb on his throwing hand since late in the team’s Week 5 loss to the New York Giants in London on October 9.
“It doesn’t make a difference with me playing,” Rodgers said, per ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. “It doesn’t make a difference. You saw the tape on my thumb. Didn’t make a difference.”
“I think I’ve had worse injuries I’ve played with,” he continued. “Definitely a challenge, but the days off helped. Feeling better this week.”
Rodgers’ effort to do the “proper” football thing and not make excuses for a downturn in both his play and that of his team is admirable, but several of the throws he missed last week against the Tennessee Titans offer evidence that contradicts his assertion that the thumb injury hasn’t hurt his play.
Green Bay now owns a record of 4-7 following that loss and sits 4.5 games behind the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North standings. The unlikelihood of making the playoffs even as a Wildcard, coupled with the news of Rodgers’ broken digit, begs the questions of when the Packers will shelve their starting quarterback for the season and if he’ll ever start another game in a Green Bay uniform once they do.
Rodgers Should Sit for Remainder of Season, Regardless of Packers’ Plans Under Center
Perhaps even more surprising than the revelation that Rodgers has played the last six weeks with a broken thumb is that the team has allowed him to do so. No matter how you slice it, the decision reads like a bad one.
Green Bay extended Rodgers on the largest annual contract in league history, guaranteeing him more than $150 million over three years. The team’s precipitous fall from consecutive three-time division champs, and winning 13 games in each of those seasons, was unexpected to say the least. It has also led to discussion of whether the Packers’ championship window has closed.
If it has, looking for a trade partner to deal Rodgers makes considerable sense. If not, keeping him healthy for the next two years is absolutely paramount to the immediate future of the organization. Either way, Green Bay has been shockingly cavalier with the centerpiece of their franchise for the last 15 years and currently the most expensive player to ever pick up a football.
Rodgers Still Possesses Massive Trade Value to NFL Contenders
Whatever the Packers’ plans are for 2023 and 2024, it is time for Rodgers to step aside for the remainder of this season.
Former first-round pick and backup quarterback Jordan Love has started just one game through more than two and a half years in the league. Green Bay must decide by May of next year whether to pick up Love’s fifth-year option. That is likely to be a roughly $20 million decision, for which the team has sparingly little in-game data upon which to draw valid conclusions.
A down year has provided the franchise with the silver lining of space to let Love run and see who they have in the young signal caller. If the coaching staff and front office decide he is the future, then a healthy Rodgers becomes a major trade chip heading into the offseason.
His contract will complicate trade talks, but discussion of Rodgers’ supposed demise have been vastly overblown and seem even more so now that the other 31 NFL teams know he’s been playing with a broken finger on his throwing hand. Despite that, he remains on pace for nearly 4,000 passing yards, 30 touchdowns and a 3-to-1 ratio of TDs to INTs.
That kind of performance will make Rodgers attractive to several franchises on the precipice of Super Bowl glory, or at least those that believe themselves a quarterback away from such status. Among some of the potential candidates include the San Francisco 49ers, Las Vegas Raiders, New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints.
Green Bay may be required to take a bite out of the nearly $100 million Rodgers is guaranteed over the next two seasons to get a deal done, but the long-term savings and the strong draft package the Packers would receive in return from any of those teams should prove more than worth the financial forfeiture on the front end.
As of Thanksgiving Day, Green Bay had given no indication that Rodgers would not start Sunday when the team takes on the Philadelphia Eagles in an effort to keep its narrow playoff chances alive.