Packers RB Aaron Jones Sounds Off on Rodgers, as QB Stays Silent

Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFleur, Green Bay Packers

Getty Head coach Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers talks with quarterback Aaron Rodgers during a game against the Raiders at Lambeau Field on October 20, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

What the top of the Green Bay Packers roster will look like come training camp remains among the NFL’s top mysteries, even to long-time members of the team.

Running back Aaron Jones, who recently agreed to both a contract restructure and a pay cut so that he could return to Green Bay in 2023, offered insight into the impending future of quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Jones spoke to the questions surrounding his highest-profile teammate on the Tuesday, February 21 edition The Pivot podcast, presented by Boardroom.

“I’ve thought about it the last three seasons if he’s coming back, but this year it seems more real,” Jones said about the possibility that Rodgers may depart the Packers organization — either by his own accord, due to a franchise decision or a combination of both.

The former Pro-Bowl running back went on to say that he hopes Rodgers will return to Green Bay for a 19th season, but is preparing for a reality without the four-time MVP under center.

Rodgers Holding Packers Hostage While He Drags Feet on Playing Future

Rodgers Goddamn Right

GettyQuarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers looks on from the bench during a game against the Washington Commanders at FedExField on October 23, 2022 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Credible reports that the Packers are fed up with Rodgers have emerged over the last week, while the quarterback hunkered down in an underground hut for four days to contemplate his future and his strongest potential suitor, the New York Jets, took multiple meetings with three-time Pro-Bowler and free agent Derek Carr about leading their offense.

In most similar cases throughout NFL history, the franchise would be holding all the cards and could simply begin initiating trade discussions with interested parties either with or without the consent of the quarterback in question. But Green Bay doesn’t have that luxury for multiple reasons.

Rodgers does not possess a no-trade clause, but he does have two years remaining on the heftiest annual contract in league history. Absorbing his deal into a salary cap is already a daunting enough task without worrying about whether he will play one season, both or neither. Rodgers can use the threat of retirement as something akin to a no-trade clause to dictate, at least to a degree, where he wants to go — assuming he wants to go anywhere.

The Packers can’t cut Rodgers lest they incur a dead salary cap hit of nearly $100 million, and trying to move on without considering his wishes or giving him what Rodgers considers a fair shake would probably only complicate the process of a trade.

Rodgers’ Decision Must Come Soon, as Packers Pressed For Time

Fulgham Resigned Injuries

GettyQuarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers looks on during a game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field on September 18, 2022 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The good news for Green Bay is now that Rodgers has emerged from his darkness retreat, he should at least be approaching the precipice of a decision.

The ideal situation for the Packers, if they do want to move on from their starter of 15 years, would be Rodgers choosing to retire. However, if he decides he wants to play, the team’s best chance to get value is to create a bidding war.

Green Bay can leverage the Jets’ interest against the interest of teams like the Washington Commanders, Tennessee Titans and Las Vegas Raiders, all of which could call themselves contenders upon inserting Rodgers into the starting lineup.

It is unclear if any of those destinations would be non-starters when it comes to Rodgers’ personal preferences, which is precisely why the timing of his decision is so important. For example, the Jets could sign Carr and the Raiders could either sign Jimmy Garoppolo or make an aggressive push to trade up the draft board from No. 7 in order to make a play for one of this year’s top quarterback prospects.

In the meantime, the Titans may decide it makes more financial sense to move forward with Ryan Tannehill or one of their two backups who started games in 2022, while Rodgers could buck at the notion of playing in the nation’s capital and starting at the bottom of the NFC’s strongest division from last season.

If things broke exactly wrong for the Packers, the team could be stuck running out a scorned and unhappy Rodgers — or even worse, paying him nearly $60 million in salary in 2023 to backup Jordan Love who has started just one game in his three-year NFL career.

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