An understandably dejected Aaron Rodgers faced the media in the wee hours of Saturday night/Sunday morning after watching his team blow a seven-point lead in the final five minutes of the Divisional Playoff game between the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers.
Unsurprisingly, the future Hall of Fame quarterback faced questions about his future almost immediately. Last year, Rodgers faced many of the same questions, and appeared to indicate his relationship with the front office had fractured. Eventually, they made amends, but restructured his contract in a way that would make a 2022 divorce very easy for both sides.
After the 49ers' loss, Rodgers was asked if the way the Packers exited the playoffs would impact his decision to stay or go this year, he admitted it will.
“Yeah, of course it does, but there’s obviously a lot of decisions to be made,” Rodgers said. “There’s a lot of players whose futures are up in the air, so definitely it’ll be interesting to see which way some of those decisions go, but I’ll have some conversations with (Packers GM) Brian (Gutekunst) in the next week or so and get a little bit more clarity and think about my own future and how much longer I want to keep doing this.”
The Packers are facing a daunting offseason ahead. It feels like they truly went all-in this year, knowing very well that this could be Rodgers’ Last Dance. Before the new league year starts, Green Bay is somehow going to have to slash into their cap situation, which currently sits somewhere between $45-50 million over the projected 2022 cap. On top of that, they have some huge decisions to make on free agents, headlined by All-Pro receiver Davante Adams. Rodgers made it pretty clear the fate of some of those players will impact his decision because he’s in no mood to rebuild at 38 years old.
“Obviously Davante’s the best receiver in the league and he’s a free agent, although they could obviously tag him. Allen Lazard, Robert Tonyan, so many guys’ contracts are up or on the brink or salary cap stuff, so a lot of decisions to be made,” Rodgers said. “I don’t want to be a part of a rebuild if I’m going to keep playing, so a lot of decisions in the next couple months.”
And while that certainly seems to suggest the two sides may part unless Gutekunst works some salary cap magic, Rodgers did admit that his relationship with the Packers front office improved drastically.
“A lot, honestly,” Rodgers said. “Brian came out and saw me on the West Coast. We had some good conversations and from the day I got back I felt like there was earnest decisions on both sides to meet in the middle and communicate. I’m very thankful to be part of the conversations I was a part of. I feel like my opinion mattered.”
It’s still too early to know which way Rodgers will go, but the Packers starting quarterback of the past 14 years committed to having an answer by the start of the new league year in March.
“I’m going to take some time and have conversations with the folks around here and then take some time away and make a decision, obviously before free agency or anything kind of gets going on that front.”
With Rodgers at quarterback, the Packers have gone 139-66-1, won eight NFC North titles, made the playoffs 11 times, and won a Super Bowl. But if Rodgers leaves—and with the Vikings and Bears both firing their GMs and head coaches—the division could look drastically different in 2022.