GREEN BAY, Wis. – “Last Dance?” Perhaps.
A couple days after Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams posted “Last Dance”-themed photos of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen to their Instagrams, the Green Bay Packers and Rodgers are close to an agreement that would bring the MVP quarterback back to the team for the upcoming season, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter.
While Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy at the shareholders meeting on Monday repeated that he hoped Rodgers will be the Packers’ quarterback “beyond” the 2021 season, Schefter said the agreement “would set up Rodgers’ departure from Green Bay” after this season.
Schefter said the team had agreed to void the 2023 season, his final year under contract, and would “review” the status of the 2022 season after the upcoming season. So, Rodgers could potentially return for two more seasons but, for the here and now, the expectation is he’ll be back at quarterback for a team that expects to contend for a Super Bowl championship.
Despite the positive developments, the Packers weren’t counting their chickens before they hatch. During the shareholders meeting, as Murphy addressed owners/fans about the Titletown District and other off-the-field matters, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported “the expectation” from those close to Rodgers is that he’ll report to Green Bay and play the 2021 NFL season with the Packers.
Murphy spoke for 20 minutes to reporters afterward but gave no indication that Rapoport’s reporting was correct or incorrect, and wouldn’t say if he expected Rodgers to report with the rest of the veterans on Tuesday.
In other words, after months of drama, he’ll believe it when he sees it.
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“I can’t comment on that,” Murphy said when asked about Rapoport’s report.
Asked what Rodgers was seeking, Murphy said, “I’m not going to get into specific details.”
Where Murphy was firm was regarding a trade. He said “absolutely not” when asked if he’d consider trading Rodgers. Presumably, Murphy’s answer was one of present tense and not the future.
For the here and now, according to Schefter, Rodgers’ contract would be adjusted to give the team some flexibility with the salary cap. According to the latest from the NFLPA, the Packers are about $4.8 million beneath the cap. They’ll need more money to deal with any in-season roster moves, whether it’s additions to the roster or gameday promotions from the practice squad.
While the ending isn’t perfectly happy from the team perspective, one more year from the reigning MVP is better than no more years and a season of turmoil. And, importantly, it gives it five-plus months to make Rodgers feel better about his future with the team that drafted him in 2005 and that he’s led to great success since 2018.
Still, how did this get to be such a sticky situation?
“That’s a good question,” Murphy said. “I think any organization, you reflect back and you evaluate the decisions you’ve made and things you might have done differently, but I’m not going to share them here.”