Just when you think the NFL is out of metaphorical bombshells – a reasonable assumption on the afternoon of the 2021 draft – another one lands with a scream.
And Thursday's could have mass ramifications.
ESPN reported that Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the reigning league MVP, has expressed to members of the organization that he doesn't want to return. Rodgers did not hide his displeasure when the team drafted quarterback Jordan Love in Round 1 last year rather than an offensive weapon who might've put a team that's lost consecutive NFC title games over the hump.
Rodgers is 37, but the value of the three-time league MVP may never get higher than it is right now. That doesn't mean the Pack will move him and, per ESPN, the Los Angeles Rams inquired before acquiring Matthew Stafford, and the San Francisco 49ers have also phoned GM Brian Gutekunst, who expressed just this week that "Aaron's our guy. … He's gonna be our quarterback for the foreseeable future. We're excited about the things we're gonna try to accomplish here over the next couple years."
Thursday, Gutekunst doubled down, saying in a statement: "As we've stated since the season ended, we are committed to Aaron in 2021 and beyond. … Aaron has been a vital part of our success and we look forward to competing for another championship with him leading our team."
And it's worth nothing, even if the relationship between Rodgers and the organization is fractured, it would be very difficult to unwind it financially. He just completed the first season of a four-year, $134 million contract extension. Trading Rodgers would mean roughly a $38 million salary cap charge for a team that barely has cap space as it is. Making a deal that would take effect financially after June 1 would cut that cap penalty for 2021 almost in half – but would also mean Gutekunst couldn't accept picks in this year's draft as part of a trade. And then there's the matter of finding a partner that could fit the roughly $23 million in salary Rodgers is due in 2021.
But if you take all of that into account – and make the leap that Green Bay and Rodgers agree a break-up of Favre-ian proportions is the only option – there are compelling teams that could make a play for No. 12:
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