This May Be Last Hurrah for Aaron Rodgers

This May Be Last Hurrah for Aaron Rodgers
Oct 9, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will turn 39 years old in November in a season coming off back-to-back MVP campaigns.

And the 2022 campaign may be Rodgers’ last, according to NFL reporter Michael Balko.

Balko tweeted on Wednesday, “I’ve spoken to some people within the Packers organization, [and[ they told me that QB Aaron Rodgers has ‘made it clear’ that he plans to retire following the season.”

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Sep 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

And this isn’t the first time Rodgers has indicated he’s winding down his 18-year NFL career. In September, Rodgers told reporters he wouldn’t emulate Tom Brady’s path of playing to age 45, adding, “I feel like I’ve given my all to the game. At some point, it’ll be time to do something else.”

The Packers are 3-2 through Week 5 of the NFL season and sit in second place behind the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North. Green Bay unexpectedly fell to the New York Giants in London last weekend, the team’s first trip to England for a regular season game.

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Oct 2, 2022; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports.

Rodgers is playing commendably in 2022 but not quite at his 2020 or 2021 level. Through five games, he ranks around the 11th-best quarterback in the league, bedfellows with Vikings QB Kirk Cousins and the Browns Jacoby Brissett. But Rodgers has started “slow” before — by his standards — and turned on the gas near the middle of the season.

The Packers are also dealing with life sans Davante Adams, who was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders in March. The trade netted Adams to Las Vegas and rookies Quay Walker (LB) and Christian Watson (WR) to Green Bay. So far, Walker and Watson haven’t taken the league by storm, but they obviously have time to mature.

Green Bay has boasted continuous Hall of Fame quarterback play for 30 years — yes, three decades without hiccups. Rodgers’ departure — whether it’s this 2023 or 2024 — will be seismic as Green Bay doesn’t outwardly have another heir apparent waiting in the wings. It will audition Jordan Love, sign a veteran, or draft a new rookie, but none of those options feel as promising as Favre-into-Rodgers from 2008.

During the last two offseasons, in varying degrees, Rodgers held the Packers hostage with upcoming-season preference, much like Favre did for about five years before he trekked to the New York Jets and later Vikings. In that regard, “Rodgers contemplating retirement” is nothing new.

However, if Rodgers walks away at the end of the season, Green Bay must stomach oodles of dead cap money:

His hypothetical retirement may perhaps be overshadowed by the standing he’d leave the Packers salary cap. And if Balko is correct, the situation will climax in three months.