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Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, like all of Packers Nation, was shocked after the team’s stunning 13-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional Round of the 2021 NFL playoffs

The QB said plenty after the game. But nothing he said tipped his hand as to what he will do in the offseason, or if he’ll be back in 2022. All Packers fans can do now is watch, listen, and try to decipher Rodgers’ often cryptic messages

The Green Bay Packers have some major decisions to make this offseason

Aaron Rodgers staying with Green Bay Packers or leaving (or even retiring?) will be the story of the offseason. 

However, just to put a functioning football team on the field next season — with or without Rodgers — the Packers brass has some serious decisions to make. 

ESPN’s NFL insider Adam Schefter (set to be a free agent himself this summer) reports that the Packers are currently a projected $44.8 million over the salary cap next season. This sets up one of the worst cap situations in the NFL second only to the New Orleans Saints. 

Rodgers aside, the biggest decision will be on superstar wideout Davante Adams. The three options are to let him walk (maybe to go with Rodgers?), re-sign him to a massive new deal, or franchise tag him. The latter seems to be the most likely outcome. It’s also one that Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst has hinted at in the past

On the defensive side of the ball, pass-rusher Rashan Gary has become a star and is due a big extension. That’s not great news for DEs Za’Darius Smith or Preston Smith. Both could do a restructure to help their cap hits. But cutting the Smiths would save the Packers $15.75M (Za’Darius) and $12.5M (Preston).

Additionally, the Packers have several key unrestricted free agents that they need to figure out how to keep this offseason. This group includes LB De’Vondre Campbell, CB Rasul Douglas, and DE Whitney Mercilus on D and TE Robert Tonyan, WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and G Lucas Patrick on O. 

Back to Rodgers, the mercurial QB has one year and $26.7 million in dead cap next season. Yes, the team could reduce that with an extension. But, if Rodgers wants out, a trade could also help ease the Packers’ pain. 

If Green Bay trades Rodgers before June 1, it will free up $19.3 million in cap room. If they trade him after that date, the team can spread the dead cap hit over two seasons. Their cap will take a $19.1 hit in 2022 and a $7.6 one in 2023. 

Aaron Rodgers expressed uncertainty about the entire Green Bay Packers organization after the playoff loss

“Shocking,” “disappointment,” and “numb” were all words that Aaron Rodgers used to describe the Green Bay Packers’ shocking 13-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers when talking to reporters after the game, per The Athletic’s Packers reporter Matt Schneidman. 

The biggest takeaway from Rodgers’ postgame comments, though, were the cryptic statements he made about the state of the Packers organization this offseason. 

“There’s obviously a lot of decisions to be made,” Rodgers said of the Packers’ offseason. “This thing is definitely going to look different moving forward in Green Bay.”

What was not cryptic was Rodgers’ assurance that he isn’t interested in being part of a rebuild if the Packers have to part ways with important vets due to the messy cap situation. 

For Packers fans, hearing Rodgers publically worry about the future of the franchise isn’t what you want to hear. It is the insult after the injury of the crushing 49ers loss. 

The question now is — even more so than will Rodgers leave or not — is how long will the controversial QB drag out his decision and hold the Packers’ entire franchise hostage like he did last offseason? 

Reports have Rodgers making a quicker decision this offseason

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers reacts after failing to get a first down during the 2nd quarter of the NFC Divisional Playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field on January 22, 2022 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Aaron Rodgers | Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images.

Aaron Rodgers is (Unsurprisingly) a Big Fan of Roy Kent Fan from ‘Ted Lasso’

From the time Aaron Rodgers broke the internet by requesting a trade on the eve of the 2021 NFL Draft to the moment he finally reported to training camp, the Green Bay Packers were in a holding pattern. Without knowing who their QB would be in 2021, the team could only do so much. 

Last season, the roster was pretty well set in the offseason. So, the hostage situation in Wisconsin didn’t make a huge difference as long as Rodgers came back. This season, though, is a very different scenario. As noted, Brian Gutekunst and the front office have a ton of decisions to make this offseason that will dictate the future of the franchise. 

If the Packers are uncertain about their signal-caller, all the decisions become more difficult. 

Packers insiders, like Matt Schneidman, believe that, if nothing else, Rodgers will make it easier on Gutekunst and company this year than he did last year. Schneidman writes: 

Rodgers will speak in the next week with Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst, with whom Rodgers’ relationship has grown significantly since last offseason. He’ll then take time away from football before making a decision about his future prior to free agency, which officially begins March 16. Rodgers has vowed not to drag this process out like he did last year. 

While that is certainly better news than the alternative, it’s not the ringing, “I’ll be back!” quote that Packers fans would like to hear. 

Now the official Aaron Rodgers watch begins. The best Packers fans can hope for now is that it will only be weeks and not months until they find out if this team runs it back one more time or the Jordan Love Era begins in 2022. 

Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac