How Bears Win in the Aaron Rodgers Rift

There are ways the Bears come out of the Aaron Rodgers and Packers rift as big winners, but there are other ways they wind up with egg on their faces again.
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Only the euphoria in Chicago over Justin Fields' arrival overshadows the sunshine now popping through those eternal dark clouds to the north.

The problems the Green Bay Packers have with Aaron Rodgers couldn't please the Chicago Bears or the other two NFC North teams more, of course.

If Bears fans had it their way, the Packers would now settle in for several decades of players like Don Horn, Jerry Tagge, Scott Hunter and David Whitehurst at quarterback.

Rodgers became creative in his criticism of GM Brian Gutekunst, calling him Jerry Krause behind his back. This can only be interpreted as an ego trip, because this puts the family insurance salesman in the role of Michael Jordan. There was only one Michael Jordan and he won six straight conference finals berths.

Whether Rodgers' claims seem petty does not interest Bears fans, who last year pined for Rodgers when he had what seems like an annual offseason controversy brewing. That was when he first steamed up over Jordan Love's selection in the draft.

The previous year, it was a website article talking about his relationship with Mike McCarthy which created the firestorm.

Bears fans don't care about the diva and his relationship with his team or fanbase. Just like Lions and Vikings fans, they'd simply like him out of Dodge.

What usually happens in these cases is absolutely nothing. The Seahawks and Russell Wilson were supposedly incompatible and the Bears stood waiting with a butterfly net, only to come away with nothing but a scowl from Pete Carroll.

Then again, there are reports the Packers are at least looking at the possibility this has become serious and are studying quarterback possibilities for offseason work and training camp in case they need extra throwers. Here are two words for the Packers because he's not doing much besides make videos of chickens these days: Jay and Cutler.

Because whatever the team from the north does impacts the Bears so greatly, here is how this drama could play out from best-case scenario to worst from the standpoint of Chicago.

These options don't include Rodgers retiring to host game shows, which would be the best route. And the final Rodgers Jeopardy answer is ...

1. Packers let Rodgers stew in his juices

Best-case situation for Chicago: The Packers decide to make an example of him and let him sit out the year while they play with Jordan Love at quarterback. No one can be certain how Love will do. For all the Bears know, he might be as good, but that's extremely unlikely when Rodgers has beaten the Bears 21 out of 26 starts — and one of the five losses was when Shea McClellin knocked him out of the game early, in what was easily the biggest Bears contribution made by the pass rusher from Chicken Dinner Road in Idaho.

2. Packers cut Rodgers, he signs in Chicago

Rodgers plays for a few years while Fields learns. Then Rodgers is discarded by the Bears when he's around 40. Green Bay gets a cap savings of $16.05 million but cutting Rodgers after June 1, according to Overthecap.com. The Packers have already said they're not trading Rodgers but cutting him would be even worse for Green Bay since he could go to the Bears, Vikings or Lions and haunt them. The only reason this option isn't preferable from a Bears standpoint to letting Rodgers sit in 2021 is the thought he could just as easily end up in Minnesota or Detroit if cut. The Bears would find it almost impossible to pay Rodgers at this point, unless they cut several key players and/or did a restructure with a back-loaded deal.

3. Packers trade Rodgers to the Broncos or the Raiders

He's in the AFC, so he's out of sight, out of mind for the Bears. Those two would be the only likely AFC teams where it would be a positive for the Bears. The Broncos have a poor quarterback situation and the Raiders have a quarterback who they always seem to want to get rid of even though he produces. Denver would be the best choice from a Bears standpoint because the Bears have to play the Raiders this year in their 17th game add-on. Plus, Chicago still has a soft spot for Vic Fangio.

4. Packers trade Rodgers to the Patriots

Rodgers is still out of the conference, but letting him join forces with Bill Belichick seems a bit like putting all of the infinity stones in one place for Thanos. Even if Rodgers is in another conference, Belichick then snaps his finger and everyone is gone. It's bad enough Belichick was able to get a good quarterback in the draft, but giving him one of the game's best ever once again would set up a situation where Rodgers not only wins but mentors Mac Jones. Then the Patriots victory train roles forward into the distant future. At least it's all still AFC stuff.

5. Packers trade Rodgers to a needy NFC team

Washington comes to mind. While no Bears fan would ever begrudge Ron Rivera a thing, having this as a potential NFC championship game road block would do the Bears little good. Carolina might be a landing place, as well. New Orleans no doubt would have interest. Putting Rodgers and Sean Payton together might be an NFC version of the Thanos situation.

6. Packers trade Rodgers for Deshaun Watson

Houston would probably have no issue with doing this at the moment. The Texans have their potential QB of the future in place with Davis Mills. Getting Rodgers to play now would be ideal for them. The legal problems facing Watson make his future in Houston more murky than right after last season when he was demanding a trade. The reason this option isn't on par with Rodgers being dealt to another AFC team besides New England is pretty obvious. The Bears and other NFC North teams would eventually be facing a deadly quarterback twice a season once again. And this time he'd be in his 20s.

7. Packers and Rodgers kiss and make up

While reports from ESPN and NFL Network talk about the rift being too large to bridge, former agent Joel Corry on CBSsports.com points out from his experience no issue is too great to overcome, if the player gets more big money and a contract extension. This entire fit of pouting might simply vanish if the Packers give Rodgers a contract extension for several years and make him the highest paid quarterback again. 

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