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Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur was asked if he wants quarterback Aaron Rodgers back next season.
LaFleur replied, “Yeah, absolutely. Of course. You guys know how I feel.”
He feels that having a Hall of Fame quarterback under center gives his team a better chance to win than Jordan Love or nearly anyone else. Duh.
The question really falls on the shoulders of Aaron Rodgers: does he want to stay with the Packers? Does he want to continue playing football at all?
As most people know, Rodgers has floated the idea of retirement. He guest-hosted Jeopardy! and implied he’d be fine taking that gig instead of taking shots to the ribs. He’s had run-ins with LaFleur since he became head coach.
It’s been a terrible season in Green Bay. In fact, it’s the worst season in nearly 15 years. That year, Rodgers’ cheeseheads finished with a 6-10 record. He has never been worse than that in his 15 seasons as the full-time starter.
Now, some of that is definitely on Rodgers. After posting the league’s best passer rating and QBR in each of the last two seasons, Rodgers is on pace to post career worsts in both categories. One more interception will give him 10 on the season — he hasn’t thrown double-digits picks in a season since 2010.
His passing yards per game (220.3) and yards per completion (10.5) are both career lows.
Packers & Rodgers is a rocky marriage but one that endures
Despite all of that, Rodgers definitely gives Green Bay the best chance to win in 2023. Would he want to return? I don’t think it’s inconceivable.
First, the Packers cap situation isn’t terrible. According to Over The Cap, Green Bay has around $3.4 million in space for 2023. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but that accounts for 45 rostered players. For context, the NFC North leading Vikings have -$4.9 million for next season with 44 rostered players.
Green Bay is currently slated to pick 11th in the upcoming NFL Draft. The Packers haven’t picked in the Top 10 of the NFL Draft since 2009.
And while the free agent wide receiver pool is looking rather thin for next season, trades are becoming more frequent. Rodgers clearly needs a #1. And what wide receiver wouldn’t want to be Rodgers top target?
There will be teams — like the San Francisco 49ers or New York Jets — who will sniff around on Rodgers. But does he want to throw away an entire career in Green Bay for one season somewhere else? And what if it doesn’t work out? He won’t be able to blame the Packers then.
Plus, the Packers put up with an awful lot of off-the-field distractions from Rodgers. Id’ say they’ve been more than accommodating.
At the end of the day, the Packers need Aaron Rodgers. But Aaron Rodgers also needs the Packers.
He just may not know it yet.
Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @OutkickDanZ