Aaron Rodgers isn’t going anywhere. On Tuesday, the back-to-back reigning NFL MVP told Pat McAfee that he is staying with the Green Bay Packers to continue his career.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Rodgers and the Packers agreed to a four-year, $200 million deal on Tuesday, making him the highest-paid player in NFL history. With an annual average of $50 million, Rodgers is being paid like the MVP that he is. However, the terms of the contract have been contradicted by both Pat McAfee and The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman.
Aaron Rodgers’ return should force Packers into “all-in” mode
With Rodgers returning to the fold, the Packers should be all-in on building around him. Even with his huge new deal, which features $153 million in guaranteed money, his cap number shrinks, according to Rapoport. The Packers can spread out his bonus payments to lower Rodgers’ cap number and build around him in free agency, while retaining homegrown talent as well.
Wideout Davante Adams, who is considered the best player at his position, should be franchise-tagged (at minimum) with an eye towards a long-term contract. Restricted free agent wideout Allen Lazard should be tendered immediately as well.
The Packers need to continue to build around Rodgers, which means re-signing incumbent players such as Adams, Lazard, and tight end Robert Tonyan, while also upgrading the pass-catching group with impending free agents and draft prospects.
Along with the fine-tuning of the offense, the Packers should put an emphasis on improving their defense and special teams. Retaining standout linebacker De’Vondre Campbell would be an excellent start.
The team has shown — despite its location — it can attract worthwhile free agents, and that should be a point of emphasis on defense. The team should also look to bring in a pair of special-teams aces to fine-tune the group after its disastrous performance in the playoffs.
Rodgers’ return likely ends any hope of a Jordan Love era
While the Packers shouldn’t be harshly criticized for looking ahead, their first-round selection of quarterback Jordan Love has proven to be a wild misstep from the 2020 offseason.
Outside of his lone start against Kansas City last season, Love hasn’t played a meaningful snap as Rodgers has surged to consecutive MVP awards. And now, with Rodgers likely to return for next season (and beyond?), Love is set to enter his third NFL season with little progress towards a starting role.
Perhaps, with the QB draft class looking underwhelming, the Packers could look to salvage some value for Love on the trade market. Love was an intriguing prospect, and while he hasn’t played, no one will begrudge him for taking a backseat to the best QB in the game.
Teams like the Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Washington Commanders, and Pittsburgh Steelers are looking for answers at QB. Love would seemingly be a cost-effective option that those teams can sell to a fan base.