Aaron Rodgers is in camp alongside his Green Bay Packers teammates preparing for his 18th NFL season with arguably the league’s most historic franchise. But the question has been raised recently as to whether the 2022 season could be the quarterback’s last.
Just a few months ago, the possibility that Rodgers had taken his last snap for the Packers seemed a real possibility. The reigning two-time MVP tried to push his way out of Green Bay prior to the start of last season and was unwilling to openly commit to his playing future moving forward, as trade rumors abounded. Rodgers seemed to put all that talk to bed recently when he agreed to an extension with the Packers that will pay him more than $50 million annually over the next three years.
But then came “The Match,” an exhibition golf event featuring Rodgers, Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs and Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills. The foursome played 12 holes at the Wynn Golf Club in Las Vegas, Nevada, which were televised live on TNT Wednesday, June 1.
Following the contest, in which Rodgers and Brady narrowly edged out their younger counterparts, the Green Bay QB spoke to TNT host Ernie Johnson noting that he considers retirement “all the time.”
“When you commit, you’re 100 percent. But the older you get, the interests change, and the grind, I think, wears on you a little more,” Rodgers said. “The football part is the easy part. That’s the joy. It’s the other stuff that wears on you and makes you think about life after football. [Brady] obviously set the bar so high with playing so many years, but I can definitely see the end coming.”
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Rodgers’ Comments Spark Widespread Speculation About Future With Packers
Rodgers’ comments last week do not necessarily indicate that the four-time league MVP and Super Bowl champion is planning to hang his cleats up at the end of the season, but reporters close to the team say the chance does exist.
They have added that the possibility shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the quarterback’s recent history of commentary on retirement, some of which came as recently as this offseason before Rodgers ultimately decided to keep playing and to return to the Packers.
One such reporter is Matt Schneidman of The Athletic, who posted his thoughts on the situation via Twitter on Sunday.
“Not sure why Aaron Rodgers’ retirement comments to Ernie Johnson the other day have caused such a stir,” Schneidman wrote. “He said a couple years ago he could see the figurative Hole 18 and has said since he doesn’t fear retirement anymore. Of course this year could be his last. Just enjoy it!”
The simple longevity of Rodgers’ career to this point may also be an indicator that the end is near. Former host of ESPN’s NFL Live Trey Wingo tweeted last Friday that the quarterback is the last remaining player drafted in 2005 following the recent retirements of running back Frank Gore and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Rodgers’ Decision on How Long to Play Likely to Influence Packers’ Attitude Toward Jordan Love
Rodgers is going to play this season, but what he decides to do following the 2022 campaign is likely to play a major role in how the Packers evaluate the long-term future of backup quarterback Jordan Love in Green Bay.
ESPN’s Rob Demovsky reported Friday that the Packers are likely to trade Love next offseason if they can find the right deal — but that is assuming he proves himself a starting-caliber NFL QB, or at least a project with enough promise to reach that status relatively soon.
“Here’s why it’s a critical juncture for both Love and the team that took him in the first round of the 2020 draft: If the Packers believe Rodgers will play beyond 2022, then they probably will try to trade Love next offseason,” Demovsky wrote. “If they keep him, they’ll have to decide by next May whether to pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract.”
That move would be both pricey and risky for Green Bay considering Love has played only minimal regular season minutes to unimpressive results throughout his two-year career after the Packers traded up to draft the QB in the first round, ostensibly as the future replacement for Rodgers.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported during an appearance on the Tuesday, May 10, episode of “The Pat McAfee Show” that the Packers fielded interest in Love from competing franchises during this year’s NFL Draft but that the price was not right.
It is unlikely bids for Love will materially change if Rodgers remains healthy this season and Love remains relegated largely to the sidelines, but it may not matter if Rodgers decides to retire following the 2022 and leaves tens of millions of dollars on the table. In that case, the Packers likely throw Love into the proverbial fire on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field where he will have only a short time to either sink or swim.