LeRoy Butler watched the events play out as the star quarterback kept the NFL team and its fans guessing about his future. He doesn’t see relations between the player and the Packers getting better, but he does take a contrarian view on when everything will start falling apart.
LeRoy Butler knows his way around Green Bay and football
Butler was right in the middle of the Green Bay Packers’ 1990s revival as their strong safety. A second-round draft pick out of Florida State in 1990, he made 165 starts and appeared in 181 games over 12 seasons.
Individually, Butler earned first-team All-Pro status four times. He finished his career with 38 interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries. His work helped the Packers to six consecutive playoff appearances beginning in 1993, and Green Bay captured Super Bowl 31 with a 35-21 victory over the New England Patriots.
Butler retired after the 2001 season due to a shoulder injury, and he has been in the mix for Pro Football Hall of Fame induction since making the list of finalists in 2020.
He played his entire career with the Packers. Understandably, he continues to take an interest in what goes on with them.
LeRoy Butler predicts Aaron Rodgers has two seasons left with the Packers
The saga surrounding Rodgers began with his expressing uncertainty about whether the loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the playoffs last January meant the end of his time in Green Bay.
The question persisted right up until the start of training camp last week. The quarterback drove the controversy. If the Packers actually wanted him gone, then they did an excellent job of hiding it.
Rodgers and the Packers negotiated a contract tweak that allows the team to free up $9.6 million in cap space this year, makes it slightly more difficult for Green Bay to trade him after the season, and creates a $46.14 million cap hit in 2022. Much of the speculation has been that there will be a trade after the upcoming season, setting the stage for Jordan Love to take over at quarterback.
Not so, according to Butler.
“I think they’ll go through this same thing again – it’ll be just as toxic,” Butler told TMZ.com. “But, at the end of the day, I think Aaron will be the quarterback for ’21 and ’22.”
The retired safety sees a challenging future once Aaron Rodgers leaves
The Packers’ last two seasons have ended one victory short of the Super Bowl. Rodgers may be 37 years old, but he’s at the top of his game and should keep the Packers in contention for two more years. But Butler says that will be the end of the line.
“After ’22, I think (Rodgers) will be gone to wherever he wants to go and they’ll be glad to get rid of him at that point,” he predicted.
Love sat and watched as a rookie last fall. And that’s where the Packers face a dilemma in Butler’s mind because he doesn’t project Love as the answer at quarterback. The Packers have been spoiled by having just two signal-callers, Rogers and Brett Favre, since 1992. Butler expects then to join the majority of NFL clubs whose idea of stability is to get five years out of their starting QB.
He’s not suggesting it as a possibility, but Butler does wonder if general manager Brian Gutekunst might somehow broker a longer-term deal to keep Rodgers instead of turning the offense over to the unproven Love, who would have limited trade value at that point.
“You would have to fire (Gutekunst),” Butler said. “There’s no coming back from that.”
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.