Packers running back Aaron Jones walked the red carpet for the NFL Honors awards show, willing to chat with reporters about anything involving Green Bay. I asked him if he had made a pitch to quarterback Aaron Rodgers to stay with the team. Apparently, he hadn’t, because he looked right into the camera and made his plea: “Aaron, I want you to stay with us, please!” Jones laughed a bit at the end, but it was clear the running back who signed a four-year contract to stay with the Packers last year, wants to play with Rodgers. I asked him if he knew anything, and he said, “As of now I don’t know what Rodgers will do next.” He knows, as we all do, there are three options on the table for Rodgers: Return to the Packers, play for another team after a trade, or retire. Unlike last offseason, we won’t have to wait long to find out what he’s officially doing.
“There’s gonna be a decision in the near future and I’m not going to keep a lot of people waiting,” Rodgers said.
So when will we know?
The start of free agency is in three weeks (March 16) and the Packers will need to know before then to make sure their roster and contracts are all squared away so they can make some moves. Not that Green Bay is ever a red-hot buy in free agency but the Packers certainly want to get settled. There have been no clear reports, just some gossip, as to what Rodgers will do. Green Bay is operating with a plan that includes the four-time NFL MVP and a plan that doesn’t include the 38-year-old. It also has been reported that wide receiver Davante Adams is a big part of the Packers’ plan, and we don’t know how specifically aligned he is to Rodgers’ future. The franchise tag window is Tuesday (Feb. 22) through March 8 and will be an important window to watch. Adams' franchise tag would be around $20.145 million, which would cost Green Bay tons. Adams also has said he doesn’t want to be tagged. He could sign a long-term deal to save money for the Packers, who are reportedly “going all in” to keep Rodgers in Wisconsin. Based on Rodgers’ acceptance speech after winning his fourth league MVP award, his relationship with the Packers is solid while the team looks to make sure it at least appears it is doing everything to keep Rodgers and keep him happy .
So, what would the Packers look like if Rodgers wants to be traded or decides to retire? Jordan Love was supposed to be the succession plan, but based on what we have seen, he still might not be ready. He started against Kansas City and finished out the game against Detroit. Based on conversations I have had in the league, the Packers wouldn’t be able to get top draft picks for him and he probably won’t start next season. What are they going to do at the quarterback position? I expect some veteran players with high cap numbers to be released as we near the start of the league year.
Now, for the optimistic crowd, let’s say both Rodgers and Adams return, the Packers probably will try to re-sign some of their key free agents, and hopefully new special teams coordinator Rich Biscaccia quickly fixes their biggest issues in the postseason: special teams.
Until Aaron Rodgers makes his decision final, we all just … wait.
Packers GM Brian Gutekunst will hold a press conference at Lambeau Field on Wednesday. We don't know if he has been told anything just yet, but let's all bet 1 million dollars the first question is "Have you spoken to Aaron Rodgers about his decision?"