On Sunday, Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers handed Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers a 31-26 loss in the NFC Championship game at Lambeau Field.
After the game, a dejected Rodgers spoke with the media. He made it clear, his return to the Packers is far from a sure thing.
Could this mean Rodgers is suddenly an option for the seemingly QB-hungry New England Patriots? At least one football outlet believes Rodgers’ potential “in-play” status might serve to cheer up Bill Belichick.
The notion that Aaron Rodgers could be in play has significantly improved Bill Belichick’s day. pic.twitter.com/oKb0omYrVR
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) January 25, 2021
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Rodgers Comments on Crucial Coaching Decision and His Future
Could there be real issues between Rodgers, the coaching staff, and management?
The Packers drove the ball inside the Bucs’ 10-yard line with just over 2 minutes remaining in the game. They were down 31-23 at the time, and the Bucs forced the Packers into a 4th-down decision. Packers head coach Matt LaFleur elected to kick the field goal and trust his defense to force a three-and-out against Brady and the Bucs.
Obviously, it didn’t work as the Bucs were able to run out the rest of the clock to secure the victory. Rodgers was asked about the decision to kick the field goal rather than going for the TD on 4th down, and then the 2-point conversion.
Rodgers didn’t flat-out say, ‘I hated the decision,’ but it doesn’t take a behavioral analysis expert to see that he didn’t agree with LaFleur’s call.
Video of Aaron Rodgers reacting to Matt LaFleur kicking a FG on 4th down, while trailing by 8 points at the end of the game.
"That wasn't my decision."pic.twitter.com/PTrlDQ5rxK
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) January 25, 2021
Rodgers also talked about the gutting feeling of losing in the postseason and the questions about his future.
Aaron Rodgers had some interesting comments after the game.
"A lot of guys futures, they’re uncertain, myself included.”
"Just gonna have to take some time away and clear my head and kind of see what's going on with everything."
— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) January 25, 2021
At 37, Rodgers could have been talking about retirement, or perhaps being traded. It’s hard to imagine the Packers giving up on a guy who just tossed 48 TD passes to only 5 INTs in 2020, despite his age. However, the Packers’ perceived QB of the future is already on the team in Jordan Love.
Green Bay took Love with the 22nd pick in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, yet he didn’t accumulate any statistics as a rookie.
Great season Jordan pic.twitter.com/ZTximWFxfn
— Barstool Carl (@barstoolcarl) January 24, 2021
Some are suggesting the play-call and the drafting of Love–while Rodgers is still playing at or near the top of his game–might be enough of an insult for the future Hall-of-Famer to want out of Green Bay.
As if drafting Jordan Love wasn’t bad enough, you just told @AaronRodgers12 “I don’t trust you.” If I’m Rodgers, I couldn’t even look at him. LaFleur is now that that Off. Coordinator with the 27th-ranked offense who didn’t deserve this job. I don’t care right now.#Shameful
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) January 24, 2021
Rodgers Contract Situation
Obviously, Rodgers hasn’t asked to be traded, but one very important detail is his contract situation. Rodgers’ current situation could be seen as trade-friendly heading into the 2021 season.
Rodgers is set to account for a $37 million cap hit, which is the going rate for an elite QB who is the favorite to win NFL MVP. The best thing about the situation is that there is an out on his contract ahead of the 2022 season.
The Patriots have more than enough cap space to facilitate this kind of trade, but would they be willing to part ways with the boatload of assets required to get Rodgers from Green Bay?
An Attractive, But Short-Term Option
With Rodgers pushing 40, he’s not going to command the same return as say, Deshaun Watson who is 12 years his junior. However, it would seem reasonable for the Packers to ask for a 1st and a 5th-round pick in exchange for arguably the greatest player in the franchise’s history.
Because of Rodgers’ age, he wouldn’t be a long-term solution for the team, and the Patriots would still need to draft a young quarterback for their future. However, Rodgers and Belichick might just be on the same timeline as it pertains to activity for the rest of their careers.
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