If this was indeed the end for Aaron Rodgers it comes with so many unreached possibilities and frustrating what-ifs.
Rodgers and his Green Bay Packers were bounced from the playoffs late Saturday, losing a 13-10 decision to the San Francisco 49ers, and that left the quarterback talking afterward about how he didn’t play well, and how the Green Bay special teams didn’t play well, and whether he’s going to play at all next season.
“I did not think we’d be talking about this after this game,” a somber Rodgers said. “I’m going to take some time and have conversations with the folks around here. And then, take some time away and make a decision, obviously before free agency or anything kind of gets going on that front.
“But, it’s fresh right now. It’s shocking for sure. I was hoping to have a nice week after the NFC championship to enjoy the lead up and then start contemplating some things so I haven’t let the moment sink in yet.”
The moment arrived riding a wave of San Francisco 49ers pass rushers, chasing Rodgers and forcing him off his spot and, frankly, causing him to not play up to his likely MVP status.
“I didn’t have a great night tonight,” Rodgers said before admitting he missed some reads.
“I definitely take my fair share of blame,” he added.
Rodgers taking responsibility for Saturday’s loss will soon fade amid the events of the coming days and weeks.
He will meet with Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst and club president Mark Murphy and those talks will help point the 38-year-old quarterback toward a 2022 return or likely retiring.
This much is clear: Rodgers believes he can lead a Packers Super Bowl charge in 2022. His abilities fading at age 38 aren’t a concern to him.
“I’m still super competitive. I still know I can play at a high level,” Rodgers said. “So it’s going to be a tough decision, a lot of things to weigh in the coming weeks.”
The decision that will help drive Rodgers one direction or another is whether the Packers are fully invested in fielding a team that has a good chance to getting in the playoffs and making a run at the Super Bowl next year.
“So many guys contracts are up or on the brink or salary cap stuff,” Rodgers noted. “Lot of decisions to be made. I don’t want to be part of a rebuild if I’m going to keep playing. Lot of decisions in the next couple of months.”
The Packers are currently scheduled to be approximately $40 million over the NFL’s $208.2 million salary cap. The club has four players with a cap number of $20 million or more, including Rodgers who is scheduled to cost $47.6 million.
And with only 41 players under contract and players such as Davante Adams unsigned and possibly headed for a franchise tag, the work to refashion the ’22 Packers as Super Bowl contenders won’t be easy.
Packers fans should note the drama of last season when Rodgers felt frustrated about not being consulted about the team’s make up won’t be happening this offseason. That’s because the dynamic between Rodgers and Gutenkunst, which was admittedly not great prior to this season, has improved.
“He came out and saw me on the west coast, we had some good conversations,” Rodgers said. “From the day I got back, there were earnest decisions on both sides to meet in the middle, to communicate. I was thankful to be part of the conversations I was part of. I felt my opinions mattered.”
And so, it can be said, Aaron Rodgers will make a decision about his future with the Packers based on what direction the Packers intend to take.
“There’s a lot of decisions that need to be made,” Rodgers said. “There’s a lot of players whose futures are up in the air. Definitely will be interested to see how some of those decisions go.
“I’ll have a conversation with Brian in the next week or so and get a little more clarity and think of my own future and think about how much longer I want to keep doing this.”
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