Aaron Rodgers Declares Intent To Leave Packers, Play For New Team
It appears the Aaron Rodgers era in Green Bay has come to an end.
While the rumblings around the likelihood Rodgers wants out of Green Bay have been growing louder in recent days, we had yet to hear anything definitive from the quarterback. That is, until today.
Number 12 made an appearance on the Pat McAfee show on Wednesday, discussing a number of things, including his darkness retreat, contemplation of retirement, and potential future in the NFL.
Rodgers explained that at the end of the season, when he embarked on his darkness retreat, he was "90% retiring". After the season, he says he was told by the team that they wanted him to retire as a Packer, and that they seemed very open to him returning. He explained that "When I came out [of the darkness retreat], I heard from multiple people that the Packers were interested in moving me".
He expressed frustration that he didn't feel the team was being truthful with him about their intent for the future. Despite that "shift" in what they told him at the end of the season and what he perceived after his retreat, he explains that he "feels no malice" toward the team.
He revisited his frustration with how the team didn't like how they dealt with aging players. He pointed to examples like Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Clay Matthews, and others at the end of their career - being pushed out at the end of their career. He then (despite declaring he doesn't want to be a victim), went on to say now he's that person - in the same situation as those other players he spoke out about a few years ago.
At one point in the conversation, he explained his process in assessing his physical ability to play again this year as a 39-year-old. After making an assessment that he wanted to play, he dropped the news that "since Friday, my intention was to play, and my intention was to play for the New York Jets."
Rodgers went on to take a bit of a swipe at the Packers, saying "I haven't been holding anything up at this point. It's been compensation that the Packers are trying to get for me...and kind of digging their heels in."
He then immediately changed course, and expressed gratitude to the organization and the team's fans, sharing "Love, and appreciation, and gratitude for everything Green Bay has done for me. Love - so much love and gratitude - and, just heart open for the Packer fans and what it meant to be their quarterback."
Changing course yet again, Rodgers quickly pointed out the "reality of the situation", saying "It is what it is, the Packers would like to move on. They've let me know that in so many words."
The quick switchbacks between veiled "Rodgers-style" criticism and words of gratitude do omit how the quarterback has not been the easiest character to deal with over the last couple of years.
The continued drama between he and the team over his future, not participating in offseason activities, and other details have led to an inevitability of him leaving that fans have felt for a few years now.
McAfee did point to some of that drama at the end of that part of the conversation, highlighting the appreciation he had for his guest offering his side of the story.
This now sets the stage for Jordan Love to assume the starting duties in Green Bay, and for the rest of the trade situation to unfold between the Jets and Packers. It had been reported that the Jets were exploring bringing in free agents that Rodgers has a history with, including Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, and Marcedes Lewis.
Rodgers also shared a ton of respect for Jets Offensive Coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who was fired as the Denver head coach last season, and was hired by New York as their OC in the offseason. Rodgers and Hackett have a history together in Green Bay, and Aaron said that was one of the big reasons the team was attractive to him.
While the deal is not yet done, this sets up yet another parallel between Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre. Both were wildly successful quarterbacks for the team, playing long careers for the Packers, yet only finding limited deep postseason success. While the circumstances were different (with Favre retiring, un-retiring, etc.), both lean into the feeling of being pushed out in favor of a younger player on the roster. Then, a trade to play for the Jets.
Rodgers will hope for a better outcome in his situation, as Brett's time with the Jets was short and ended on a sour note. Favre got his team off to an 8-3 start, before going 1-4 to end the season, missing the playoffs, ending his year with 22 interceptions (3rd worst year in his career) and dealing with some nagging injury issues.
For those going a step further, salivating (or joking about) the possibility of Rodgers again following in Brett's footsteps and landing in Minnesota after this season, I find that to be an unlikely scenario.
The biggest reason is that while they're pretty new to the team, I don't get the sense that Coach O'Connell and the GM are the types to bring on a 40-year-old quarterback. I could be wrong. Some point to this being a bit of a rebuilding period, shedding some older players and building up a younger roster with the idea of having a window to chase a ring in 2024 or 2025. This would align with maybe chasing an aging veteran if they don't draft a replacement for Kirk or lock Cousins down long-term after this season.
Regardless of what the future holds, it sounds like we're now just waiting for the details of the deal to be done before Rodgers is officially the next quarterback for the New York Jets and the Jordan Love era starts in Green Bay.