Packers and Aaron Rodgers must win another Super Bowl to make the drama worth it | Launderer’s report
Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press
So Tuesday was a day in the National Football League.
Two of the biggest pieces of this year’s quarterback carousel fell. One in a blockbuster deal that could become the most impactful trade in league history. The other in a less dramatic way: the reigning double MVP of the league has decided to stay put.
the OK sending Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos was a stunner in every sense of the word, but it was far less surprising that Aaron Rodgers decided to stay with the Green Bay Packers, who have won 13 games in each of the last three seasons.
That return ended a soap opera about Rodgers’ future that began when Green Bay was stunned at home by the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional playoffs. But in many ways, this move carries the same expectations as Denver’s massive bet on Wilson.
There is one thing and only one that will justify Green Bay’s commitment – and all the roster changes that will come after.
Win Super Bowl LVII.
Rodgers’ return is decided. The details, however, are not.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted that Rodgers and the Packers had agreed to a four-year, $200 million extension, which included $153 million in guarantees.
Ian Rapoport @RapSheet
The #Packers and MVP QB Aaron Rodgers have agreed terms to a 4-year, $200 million deal that makes him the highest-paid player in NFL history, sources say. He gets a whopping $153 million guaranteed and his cap goes down. A monstrous commitment from GB for the years to come. 💰 💰 💰
Rodgers, however, refuted the report, confirming his return but challenging the terms.
Either way, it’s a good day to be a Cheesehead.
There had been widespread speculation that Rodgers would be involved in a blockbuster trade this offseason. But at the NFL Scouting Combine, Green Bay general manager Brian Gutekunst noted the team hadn’t received any offers for the 38-year-old. For his part, head coach Matt LaFleur said that while he would of course prefer Rodgers to lead his offense again, he wasn’t going to try to influence Rodgers’ decision.
“I told him, I don’t want to be bossy and tell him every day how much we love him and how much we want him back,” LaFleur said. “So you just want to be respectful of his space and allow him to think clearly about everything without being annoying I guess.”
Apparently, both parties have eliminated any differences that might have existed.
This is just the beginning. The Packers will be in scramble mode over the next week, trying to keep the team around Rodgers and star receiver Davante Adams, who was given a franchise tag that would pay the 29-year-old $20.5 million.
By above the ceilingno team is worse off relative to the salary cap.
The Pack will no doubt try to sign Adams to a more team-friendly extension. High-priced players such as point carrier Za’Darius Smith, left tackle David Bakhtiari and cornerback Jaire Alexander will likely be asked to restructure their contracts to free up space. There might well be a casualty or two.
Next, Green Bay must try to replenish its other free agents: linebacker and main tackle De’Vondre Campbell, cornerback Rasul Douglas, wide receivers Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard and tight end Robert Tonyan.
Then there’s the future of quarterback Jordan Love. If Rodgers’ extension comes close to the terms revealed by Rapoport, it’s nearly impossible to believe Love — who Gutekunst moved in the first round to draft in 2020 — won’t be traded. The only question is where and for what.
The Pack have their quarterback, the No. 1 wide, a powerful running duo Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon and a solid offensive line. But there is still a lot of uncertainty.
What is certain is that unless Green Bay hands over the “title” to Titletown, all the drama of the past year will have been for nothing.
And even with Rodgers, there’s no guarantee the Packers will get to the top of the mountain.
To be clear, Rodgers’ talent and resume are unquestionable. Last year’s MVP award was his fourth – only Peyton Manning has more. Rodgers threw 37 touchdown passes for just four interceptions. He’s thrown nearly five times as many touchdown passes as interceptions in his career, has a career passer rating of 104.5 (the highest in NFC history), and boasts a staggering record of 139 -66-1 in the regular season.
If he retired tomorrow, Rodgers would be a first-round Hall of Famer. There’s no question the Packers are exponentially better with him than without him.
But despite all that success, Rodgers did play in a Super Bowl, and that was 11 years ago. He also has excellent playoff numbers – 45 touchdowns for 13 interceptions and a passer rating of 100.1. But the Packers are just 11-10 in the playoffs under Rodgers and 1-4 at the NFC Championship Games. Last season, Green Bay scored a touchdown on its first possession against San Francisco and then failed to score another.
Matt Ludtke/Associated Press
Rodgers certainly doesn’t bear all the blame for those disappointments – football is a team game, and Green Bay’s special teams bore the brunt of the blame for this latest loss. But as the longtime Packers beat writer Bob McGinn (via Peter King of NBC Sports), Rodgers’ aversion to making mistakes could be as much a curse as a blessing.
“Rodgers … for years has played a cautious and calculating game in understanding that the number of interceptions plays a disproportionate and absurd role in the passer scoring formula. Bad interceptions are, well, bad. Then there’s the interceptions that are the cost of doing business for the selfless, competitive, stat-immune quarterbacks who fight to make plays and lead returns to the bitter end. When a quarterback, especially one with a powerful and usually accurate arm like Rodgers, deliberately minimizes the chances of delivering a big play for fear of an interception…it just hurts his team. In the playoff game, a lowly talent like Jimmy Garoppolo was under as much passing pressure as Rodgers, but drilled closer completions from the field in large part because he was unafraid of a choice and timing.”
That pedestrian playoff game against the Niners (225 passing yards, zero touchdowns) was the latest chapter in a roller-coaster campaign for Rodgers. Yes, he was the regular season MVP. But that was after an equally dramatic offseason in which he would have clashed with Gutekunst. And the in-season controversy about his COVID-19 vaccination status (and whether he intentionally misled people about it).
It’s drama upon drama upon drama. And the soap opera isn’t going to stop now that Rodgers is back (again). If anything, it will accelerate.
Barring financial difficulties of epic proportions, the 2022 Packers won’t be as good on paper as they were in 2021. That’s not to say Green Bay won’t be among the NFC favorites anymore – the champ Super Bowl Los Angeles The Rams have similar cap constraints and free agent issues, and teams such as the 49ers, Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals have talent and question marks in an equal measure.
But the spotlight on Rodgers and the Packers will be even brighter and harsher than a year ago, after the first “will he, or won’t he?” out of season. Expectations will be exorbitant. Every setback will make headlines. Every mistake will be amplified.
And if Rodgers continues to court controversy off the field, Twitter may need to add additional servers.
The Packers and their fans got what they wanted. They got their MVP quarterback back. But his return is not a panacea.
And unless Rodgers can finally get over the hump, shake off the perception that he can’t win when the stakes are highest (a criticism that was also leveled at Manning) and secure another Super Bowl win. in Green Bay, the time may come a year or two from now when those same fans will wonder if it was all worth it.