Aaron Rodgers’ Uncertain Future with the Green Bay Packers

Mark Badtke

An Aaron Rodgers jersey in the iconic green and gold he has worn for his entire NFL career

As the NFC Divisional Playoff game came to an end Saturday night, Packers fans were left with a familiar sight. The Green Bay Packers had been eliminated from the playoffs. Another familiar sight, the triumphant San Francisco 49ers, who had just eliminated the Packers from the playoffs for the 4th consecutive time in Aaron Rodgers’ career. This comes as yet another tragic postseason defeat for the Packers, and a defeat that may cause even greater harm, as uncertainties over Rodgers’ future with the team continue to grow.

The possibility of Aaron Rodgers leaving the Green Bay Packers has long been a looming fear for, not only Packers fans, but the Packers organization as a whole. It’s no secret that Aaron Rodgers’ performance with the team so far has been more than adequate, and even record breaking. During a Week 16 game this season against the Cleveland Browns, Aaron Rodgers connected with Allen Lazard for his 443rd career touchdown pass with the Packers, surpassing the team record previously set by Brett Farve. Impressively, Rodgers did this while playing one fewer season than Farve, and even more impressive, he did it while throwing only 93 interceptions compared to Farve’s 286; a margin of 193 fewer interceptions. Rodgers hasn’t just been breaking team records, however. According to Pro Football Reference, a website for recording all kinds of NFL statistics and data, Aaron Rodgers holds the record for highest single-season passer rating, a stat that uses multiple factors such as passing yards and interception in a formula to calculate a passer’s overall passing ability. This feat is especially astounding when accounting for the fact that Rodgers also has the second highest single-season passer rating on that list, as well as other performances near the top of the list.

So if Rodgers is performing this well with the Green Bay Packers, why would he want to leave? The simple answer is that that other than Rodgers, not much has been going well for the Packers over the past several seasons. While Rodgers regularly finishes the season as one of the top QBs in the league, even winning NFL MVP three times, with a fourth seemingly on the way, the Packers have been struggling since their Super Bowl XLV win back in 2011, specifically when it comes to the postseason. Since making the Super Bowl in the 2010-2011 season, the Packers have not been back since. This is especially frustrating, when considering the numerous times they have had a phenomenal regular season, just to have an upsetting loss in the Playoffs, such as the 2011-2012 season, as well as this season. It’s not like the Packers have not came close to making the Super Bowl, however. In fact, they have made it to the NFC Championship game five times since Super Bowl XLV. However, they have lost all five times, tragically leaving the Packers out of the Super Bowl, one step before their coveted destination. 

Playoff performances aren’t the only factor that could potentially drive Rodgers to look for a different team, however. As Rodgers has expressed numerous times, most notably this past off-season, that he has some disagreements with Packers management and what they have been doing with his fellow teammates in the past. In the past, the Packers have released or traded several key players that Rodgers wished to stay on the team, notably players such as Clay Matthews, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, James Jones, Casey Hayward, and Micah Hyde. These are players that had been performing extremely well with the Packers, and some of which have went on to have great success with other teams. So why would the Packers get rid of some of their top players while they are still performing at a suitable level? The main reason for this is the focus of Packers management on acquiring new, younger players in order to rebuild the team to have a successful future. However, in doing so, they harm the performance of the team in the short term, which in effect, wastes the valuable time that the Packers have with Aaron Rodgers. Even so, the plan of rebuilding the Packers has not been all too successful, as many of our draft picks have not turned out to be successful players that can help the team rebuild. The most notable of these recent draft picks is, of course, quarterback Jordan Love. The decision to draft Jordan Love was shocking to everyone, from NFL draft analysts, to Packer fans, to even Aaron Rodgers himself. According to ESPN, Rodgers stated that he was “not thrilled by the pick, necessarily.” This reaction is understandable, considering that this is just one of many questionable decisions that the Packers management has made.

With that being said, is Rodgers really going to leave Green Bay? Well, the answer to the question is not quite certain yet, but after this crushing loss in the Playoffs, it seems possible. There are several teams that would be interested in having Rodgers become their new QB, especially teams such as the Steelers, who have numerous assets on offense and defense that could work to build a team around Rodgers with. However, there is still a strong chance that Rodgers stays with the Green Bay Packers. After all, they did just finish the regular season with the best record out of any team, and are in a position to be a Super Bowl winning team if they can just make it through Playoffs. According to The New York Times, “I don’t want to be a part of a rebuild if I’m going to keep playing.” Clearly the uncertainty of Rodgers future with the Packers is still an evergoing battle for the Green Bay Packers. However, it certainly isn’t hopeless either. What’s certain though, is that come this off-season, all eyes will be on Aaron Rodgers, unpredictable as always.