GREEN BAY, Wis. – Late Friday night Pacific time, Green Bay Packers receiver Davante Adams and then quarterback Aaron Rodgers posted to their Instagram accounts a photo of former Chicago Bulls stars Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen bumping fists.
That photo was used as part of the promotional materials for ESPN’s “The Last Dance” documentary, which chronicled the final year of the Jordan-led Bulls dynasty.
Those sense-deleted posts beg one obvious question: Has Rodgers, unhappy with the direction of the franchise, decided to return to Green Bay for one more season to team up with his close friend Adams, who is entering his final season under contract?
Or did their last dance end with the loss in the NFC Championship Game against Tampa Bay in January?
Whatever, it perhaps signals that Rodgers has made a decision on whether he’ll report to training camp on Tuesday and be on the practice field for the first practice on Wednesday.
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Rodgers skipped the Packers’ entire offseason program while Adams skipped the voluntary practices but participated during the three-day minicamp. During that minicamp, Adams was asked if he’d use his powers of persuasion to coax Rodgers back for 2021 and then they could figure out 2022 later.
“That’s the type of message I want to send to him,” Adams said as part of the accompanying video. “But there’s so much that goes into it. Once again, that’s positive, a very positive outlook, but that also could be viewed as selfish and I don’t want to put any pressure on anybody that would be in that situation, let alone Aaron Rodgers, so we’re going to let him figure it out.”
It was quite the position to be in for coach Matt LaFleur. Would he have to craft a training camp plan based on easing Rodgers into action? Or would the plan have to be focused on getting Jordan Love a huge number of reps, as was the case during the offseason practices?
Getting Rodgers back for even one season would be a tremendous outcome for general manager Brian Gutekunst.
While Rodgers has pressed the team to be more aggressive, Gutekunst was incredibly aggressive in keeping the team mostly intact for at least one more dance. While All-Pro center Corey Linsley signed with the Chargers in free agency, Gutekunst restructured several contracts to dig his way out of a salary cap hole of more than $28 million without having to release any key players. Those maneuverings got the Packers in compliance with the 2021 cap but left the team staring at an enormous deficit for 2022. According to OverTheCap.com, the Packers are about $5.1 million below the cap for 2021 but $35.3 million over next year’s cap floor of $208.2 million. Only the Saints have bigger upcoming cap issues than Green Bay.
With the corps of a roster that has reached back-to-back NFC Championship Games back, will Rodgers join with his good friend Adams for a Bulls-style last dance? At this point, perhaps only No. 12 and No. 17 know the answer.