(EDITOR’S NOTE: To access the Charles Woodson interview, click on the following attachment: Ep 52: Pro Football HOFer Charles Woodson Joins The Show | Spreaker)
Nobody but Aaron Rodgers knows what the future holds for Aaron Rodgers.
Nevertheless, there’s no shortage of speculation as to what happens next for the Packers’ quarterback. He could stay where he is and play for Green Bay. He could be traded to another team. Or he could decide to step away and pursue options (think “Jeopardy”) outside of pro football.
So it figures that when Class of 2021 Hall-of-Famer and former Packers’ star Charles Woodson checked in with the latest “Eye Test for Two” podcast on fullpressradio.com, we asked him to join the chorus and speculate how the A-Rod saga ends.
Remember: Woodson was in Green Bay in 2008 when the Rodgers/Brett Favre episode played out in front of national TV. So he has an insider's perspective on quarterback transitions there, which is why we asked how he thinks this story ends.
“I can see there being a trade,” said Woodson. “I don’t think there will be any shortage of teams that would have maybe some draft capital, a few players on their team that they’re willing to part ways with, and go out there and get Aaron Rodgers. At this point, the way it’s looking, I can see him playing for another team this year.”
That’s what happened in 2008 when Favre retired and asked for his unconditional release. The Packers refused and instead made a commitment to Rodgers, the team’s first-round draft pick in 2005. Favre then un-retired, flew to Green Bay to meet with management and was dealt to the New York Jets.
“I just think it’s funny how things come full circle,” Woodson said. “Now, here we are kind of in the same boat: Green Bay moving up to draft a quarterback (Jordan Love in 2020) in the first round when, I’m quite sure, A-Rod is looking at that draft thinking they could get somebody else that they could put on the offense to play on the other side of Davante Adams to give them a little bit more firepower on the offensive side of the ball. And that didn’t happen.”
One difference: Favre wanted to return to the Packers; Rodgers reportedly wants out.
But where the Packers decided to move on from Favre, no such decision has been made with Rodgers. Quite the opposite. The Packers insist they’re not interested in trading Rodgers ... and who can blame them? He was last year’s league MVP and led them to the NFC championship game.
So, after reports surfaced that Rodgers doesn’t want to return to Green Bay, the Packers’ coach, general manager and team president each flew out of town to meet with him – with GM Brian Gutekunst later saying “we are committed to Aaron Rodgers for 2021 and beyond.”
There has been no response by Rodgers. In fact, throughout this entire experience Rodgers has been quiet. So speculation runs the gamut, with some suggesting Rodgers wants a long-term commitment; others, that he’s unhappy with Gutekunst; still others, that he wants to play on or near the West Coast where he has an offseason home and his fiancée works.
But the Packers haven’t budged, and Rodgers hasn’t made a public pronouncement. So anything is possible, with Woodson believing a trade the most likely resolution -- much as happened with Favre and with Carson Palmer in 2011 in Cincinnati.
The Bengals' starting quarterback for seven seasons, Palmer requested a trade following a 4-12 finish in 2010 – with team owner Mike Brown turning it down the next day. Then, when reports surfaced that Palmer planned to retire and would never play for the Bengals again, Cincinnati exercised a second-round draft pick on quarterback Andy Dalton and waited for Palmer to make the next move.
He never did. Neither did the Bengals. All they did when Palmer failed to appear for training camp was put him on the reserve/did not report list and move on with Dalton. And that’s how things stayed until October when the Bengals hit the turn at 6-2 and finally blinked.
They traded Palmer to the Raiders.
Granted, that was a different time and a different team. Cincinnati didn’t have a history of winning like the Packers. It wasn't coming off a playoff year. And Palmer wasn’t the reigning MVP. Nevertheless, Woodson believes something similar could happen here.
“I think it comes down to someone making an offer that they can’t refuse,” he said of the Packers. “That’s what it really comes down to. They’re not going to let him get out of there for nothing.
“I think this is a situation where you got two sides that are probably going to dig in, and then somebody’s going to have to make a decision. A-Rod’s going to have to buckle down and say, 'I’ll come into camp, play this year out and then, after that, whatever happens.’
“Or maybe somebody does come in with that draft capital and a great trade, and the Packers say, ‘You know what? We can’t turn that down. A-Rod, it’s been great, but we’ll see you somewhere else.’ It’s all going to make for an interesting summer, I can tell you that.”