He's Baaaaack.Posted:Mar 8th, 2022 6:01 pm
I had talked myself into being happy whatever the outcome of the Aaron Rodgers saga. Trade him for a king’s ransom and rebuild in a wide open NFC North, or bring him back for multiple years and resume the business of being a Super Bowl favorite.
When the news broke that Rodgers and the Pack had come to terms on a deal that will likely means he will retire a Packer, I realized there was more than half of me that was happy that it worked out this way. After all, when you have a generational talent and two-time reigning MVP, your team is more relevant, your autumn is guaranteed to be captivating and your fandom is elevated with the hope that maybe this will be the year.
Sure, I was aggravated by how he dealt with the league’s COVID protocols, and I’ve been irritated by how he’s held the team hostage (more so last year than this), and his performance in the second half of the team’s last two playoff losses has been underwhelming and disappointing.
But an Aaron Rodgers-led team will always have a chance to win a ring. An Aaron Rodgers team will make every week appointment viewing, with games in prime time and the late window and a good chance we’ll see something we’ve never seen him do before.
We won’t know until the parameters of his new deal are released how long the two sides will be tied together, but best guess it will be at least two seasons, with cap relief built in this year and next to assure Gutey and company can field a competitive team around him.
Which brings us to Davante Adams, who was slapped with a franchise tag on Tuesday, the first Packer to get one since 2010. You can bet Rodgers wanted assurances that Adams would be in Green Bay for the long haul as well, and those who cover the team believe the two sides will eventually find common ground. Maybe it’s a shorter three year deal, tied to Rodgers’ future, that would allow him to cash in one more time down the road. I’ll be very surprised if a deal isn’t done—but it might leak into training camp.
Finally, what does this mean for Jordan Love? There is absolutely a scenario where he’s back in Green Bay in 2022 as the backup and maybe a strong preseason or a cameo in the regular season boosts his trade value after next season. I think it’s more likely a team that loses out in free agency and isn’t enamored with this year’s rookie class rolls the dice and ships the Pack a third rounder, or maybe even a second. I think Green Bay should snap that up in a heartbeat and give Love a chance to start over in his third season.
Now we’ll find out which free agents are coming back. Does Rodgers’ return mean it’s more likely the Pack retains Randall Cobb, Marcedes Lewis and Mason Crosby? Za’Darius Smith and Kevin King are headed for release, but what about Billy Turner and MVS? Can the team find a way to bring back De’Vondre Campbell and/or Rasul Douglas?
The first domino has fallen in what will be a very interesting couple of months ahead as the Pack now begins the process of retooling for 2022. With Rodgers and Adams in place, things just got a whole lot more interesting.