After trading up to draft his heir apparent, the Packers put a ticking clock on Aaron Rodgers’ tenure in Green Bay. What does his future hold?
It’s been over six weeks since the conclusion of the NFL Draft, and I am still reeling over the fact that the Green Bay Packers traded up in the first round for a quarterback. I understand the strategy of taking a developmental prospect to groom behind your starter; eventually, that player could either be a tremendous insurance policy or provide a hefty return several years later via trade. However, that is not the Packers’ plan.
With Aaron Rodgers nearing the end of his prime, the Packers elected to draft for the future instead of trying to win now. Green Bay traded a first and fourth round pick to move up four spots in order to draft Jordan Love. They chose to draft a quarterback in lieu of a position of need, such as wide receiver.
Aaron Rodgers said regarding the Love pick, per USA Today’s FTW:
“Not going to say I was thrilled by the pick, necessarily. But I understand the organization is not thinking just about the present, but the future and I respect that.”
Rodgers had mentioned previously his hopes of retiring as a Packer, but this move by the organization casts much doubt on that possibility. Nonetheless, Rodgers will be suiting up for the Green and Gold for the foreseeable future, as there is not a reasonable out in his contract until 2022.
Rodgers is under contract with Green Bay through the 2023 season, but the Packers can trade him the year prior by taking a $17 million dead cap hit. If they wait until 2023, they’ll only take a $3 million dead cap hit.
While there’s a remote possibility Rodgers finishes out his career before Love is handed the reins, it seems more likely than not that the future Hall-of-Famer will play well into his 40s like Tom Brady. If that is indeed the case, Rodgers will eventually don a different uniform for the first time in his professional career.
So let’s take a look two years into the future. The year is 2022 and Brian Gutekunst will no longer allow his first-round pick to sit on the bench. A lot will be different two years from now, so it may be difficult to project who will have a need at quarterback. Nonetheless, let’s take a speculative look at where Aaron Rodgers could end his career.