Aaron Rodgers Sends Direct Message to Green Bay Packers After Playoff Disappointment: ‘I Don’t Want to Be Part of a Rebuild if I’m Going to Keep Playing’

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers didn’t think the end would come so soon. He and the Packers had visions of making a deep run through the playoffs and winning the Super Bowl. That sounds like a pleasant dream at this point because the harsh reality is that the Packers crumbled under those expectations, losing to the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field, 13-10.

The 2022 offseason is here for Green Bay, and with it comes a fresh round of drama surrounding Rodgers and his future. Amidst the uncertainty, Rodgers seemed certain about one thing.

He will have no patience for a rebuild in Green Bay.

Aaron Rodgers didn’t think this moment would come when it did

QB, Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers gestures as he exits the field after losing the NFC Divisional Playoff game to the San Francisco 49ers | Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

He admitted that he didn’t think it would come so soon, these discussions of the future. 

“It’s fresh right now. It’s a little shocking for sure,” Rodgers said after the loss to San Francisco, according to ESPN. “Definitely was hoping to have a nice week after the NFC Championship to enjoy the lead-up and then start contemplating some things. I haven’t even let the moment really sink in yet.

That moment, according to Rodgers, won’t be drawn out. Not like it was last offseason. He told the media that he’ll have some conversations with “the folks around here,” meaning the Packers. He also said he’d want to take some time away from everything. Still, Rodgers seemed adamant that the decision about his future would come before free agency and the NFL Draft, which will give the Packers time to figure things out depending on what he chooses to do.

“There’s obviously a lot of decisions to be made,” Rodgers said, according to Sports Illustrated. “There’s a lot of players whose futures are up in the air, so definitely will be interesting to see which way some of those decisions will go. But I’ll have the conversations with 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.”

Three potential paths for Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers 

While Rodgers is thinking about his future, it’s worth taking a moment to look at some of the potential paths he could explore.

Logically there appear to be three.

Path #1: 

Rodgers can decide he’s done chasing another Super Bowl and that his interests outside of football are calling, which would lead him to retire. We already know that he considered retirement last offseason. He also recently mentioned wanting to be able to go out on his own terms.

“You want to still be able to play, still be able to walk, still be able to have cognitive brain function when you’re done playing,” he said on The Pat McAfee Show.

Path #2:

Rodgers could ask for a trade. He already knows there was a point when Green Bay’s front office was ready to move on from him. That’s why they drafted Jordan Love, after all. If he and the Packers can find a way to amicably part ways via a trade, he’d get a fresh start somewhere else, and the Packers would likely get significant assets in return for him that would help them jump-start the post-Rodgers era. 

It could be a win-win.

Path #3:

Rodgers could choose to stay with the Packers, which would likely involve a contract extension and some restructuring in order to help Green Bay save money. Green Bay may even ask him to take a pay cut in this scenario because they’re really going to be up against the cap in 2022 and 2023.

The one thing they won’t be able to ask him to do is to be patient through a rebuild scenario.

Rodgers doesn’t want to be a part of a rebuild with the Packers

Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers warms up prior to the NFC Divisional Playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers | Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Amidst all the uncertainty of the next few months in Green Bay, there’s one thing that Rodgers seems to know for sure.

“I don’t want to be part of a rebuild if I’m going to keep playing,” he said.

That’s about as definitive as a statement you can get from a quarterback known for his ability to play with words.

At 38-years-old it makes sense that Rodgers doesn’t want to be a part of a rebuild, but just how realistic is it for the Packers to extend their Super Bowl window? 

Having Rodgers in the fold helps that, but one of the downsides of having a talented team is that you eventually have to pay the piper, and the piper is going to start calling the Packers soon.

Green Bay has 23 players entering free agency this cycle, including Davante Adams, Robert Tonyan Jr., De’Vondre Campbell, Rasul Douglas, Lucas Patrick, Tyler Lancaster, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Allen Lazard is a restricted free agent.

Adams is likely heading toward a franchise tag, which means he’ll be locked in for 2022, but his future beyond that in Green Bay is not guaranteed. Campbell deserves to be paid after an All-Pro season, and the Packers will need him back to spearhead the defense. One would think Rodgers would like the Packers to match or exceed any offers made to Lazard. He’s gone from an undrafted practice squad player to a big part of Green Bay’s offense, and he does have the trust of both head coach Matt LaFleur and his quarterback. The Packers picked Rasul Douglas off the Arizona Cardinals practice squad and he became a star, notching five interceptions (including two pick-sixes) in 12 games. Don’t you think he’ll want to cash in on his success and get paid? He made the NFL equavlaeant of peanuts this season, with a base salary of $770,000. He was a huge value for the Packers, providing amajor bang for the buck. He deserves to get paid this offseason, but will Green Bay be able to do it?

Those are four key players right there who will need to be paid to come back for another run, and that’s not even considering the 2023 free-agent class. Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Adrian Amos, Billy Turner, Jaire Alexander, and Elgton Jenkins will enter contract years in 2022.

If the Packers want to keep contending for the Super Bowl, they’ll need to pay many of the players above. That’s also not factoring in bringing in outside players to make the team better. As currently constructed, this roster just got bounced out of the playoffs. The Packers are going to need to get better this offseason, but do they have the resources?

Rodgers had it right when he said that a lot of futures are up in the air in Green Bay. If somehow Gutekunst and the front office can find a way to balance all of those futures while still keeping the Packers competitive, it will be impressive. For the Packers, hopefully, it will be impressive enough to keep No. 12 around because any talk of contention starts and ends with him.

Stats courtesy of ESPN and Pro Football Reference. 

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