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#pounditSunday, September 19, 2021

Aaron Rodgers

Video: Aaron Rodgers rolls through downtown Green Bay on golf cart

Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers has returned to Green Bay after working out a new deal with the Green Bay Packers, and you would swear he never left with the way he was spotted riding around town on Monday.

Marques Eversoll of 107.5 The Fan in Green Bay shared a video of Rodgers honking at someone in his personalized golf cart at a traffic stop. The reigning MVP was dressed like he had just come from practice. He was also bumping some music. Check it out:

That video immediately reminded a lot of people of when Rodgers was spotted riding around Green Bay holding a case of beer in the back of a teammate’s truck. Packers fans will probably enjoy seeing their franchise icon up to his old tricks, but all signs point to Rodgers riding around a different downtown area a year from now.

Here is why Packers are all but certain to trade Aaron Rodgers after 2021

Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers finally agreed to a reworked contract on Thursday that technically ties the star quarterback to the team through the 2022 season. However, it has been widely reported that Rodgers will play only one more season in Green Bay. The structure of his new contract all but guarantees that.

Tom Pelissero of NFL Network shared many of the details of Rodgers’ new deal. The contract saves Green Bay nearly $10 million in salary cap space this season, but Rodgers now carries a mammoth cap hit of $46 million in 2022. Packers salary cap guru Ken Ingalls provided a good breakdown of the new deal:

As you can see, it is all but a guarantee that the Packers will not want to keep Rodgers at his current 2022 cap hit. According to Over the Cap, Green Bay is now roughly $50 million over the salary cap for 2022. They’re going to absorb a sizable dead cap hit even if they trade Rodgers, but they certainly cannot keep him given the financial constraints that would go along with it.

Rodgers offered a surprisingly candid explanation this week for his issues with the Packers, which you can read here. It’s clear nothing has really been resolved, which is why anything other than a divorce next offseason would be a shock.

Aaron Rodgers offers lengthy explanation for standoff with Packers

Aaron Rodgers

After months of silence and cryptic messages, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers spoke directly to the media Wednesday for the first time since he demanded a trade. While Rodgers and the Packers have reached a truce, the quarterback had a lot to say about what went into his unhappiness.

Rodgers gave a remarkably candid and honest statement about his issues with the Packers, holding very little back when explaining the thinking that went into his feud with the Packers. The first thing he cited was the Packers’ treatment of numerous veterans the team let go. Rodgers said he had been left unhappy with how the Packers treated several “high-character veterans” on the way out. He even named names, citing the exits of Charles Woodson, Jordy Nelson, Julius Peppers, Clay Matthews, Randall Cobb, James Jones, John Kuhn, TJ Lang, Bryan Bulaga, Casey Hayward, and Micah Hyde.

Rodgers also said he was frustrated that the Packers did not use him more to recruit free agents. He cited the fact that Green Bay is not a huge destination city, and that many players who come do so to play with Rodgers and contend for a championship.

The biggest issue Rodgers cited was the lack of consultation in major decisions, from players to free agents to roster moves. He said he felt he had earned the right to be viewed as more than just another player, and felt he deserved a say in key organizational decisions. He cited the fact that he was not consulted on the hiring of Matt LaFleur as head coach, though he made sure to say that he was happy that LaFleur was the team’s coach.

Rodgers also cited the team’s decision to cut wide receiver Jake Kumerow prior to the start of 2020, which had been previously reported as a key issue for the quarterback. Rodgers said Kumerow had been the second-best wide receiver in the team’s camp, and that he would have liked to have been consulted before the receiver’s release so he could try to change the front office’s mind.

Rodgers did confirm that he considered retirement, but ultimately realized he wanted to play and felt he still could. He said his relationship with GM Brian Gutekunst was “professional,” but made clear that his issues with the Packers are not necessarily in the past. He refused to say whether he would remain with the organization beyond 2021, and denied reports that the team had agreed to let him choose his next destination if he did leave.

Rodgers’ comments confirmed much of the reporting over the summer about his unhappiness with the Packers. Even some of his former teammates correctly identified the issues. Rodgers did not like many of the decisions the team has made on and off the field. He felt that the organization treated him as just another player when his influence should have been greater. He wanted more say in some of those key decisions. He feels he knows the Green Bay organization well enough to offer intelligent input on what the organization is doing. He had not received any of that, had had enough, and wanted to push for changes. Whether he got what he wanted remains to be seen.

One thing is for sure: the tension between Rodgers and the Packers still exists. It will make for a fascinating 2021 season, and it means that there is still no clarity about what will happen after that.

Randall Cobb announces return to Packers to rejoin Aaron Rodgers

Randall Cobb

The Green Bay Packers have made the move to get quarterback Aaron Rodgers one of the weapons he wanted in order to return to the team.

Houston Texans wide receiver Randall Cobb posted an image of himself in a Packers uniform with the announcement that he is “coming home.” That post comes a day after reports that Rodgers had told the Packers to reacquire Cobb, who played for the team from 2011-2018.

According to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, the deal is expected to come with a contract restructuring. Cobb signed a three-year, $27 million deal with the Texans prior to the 2020 season.

Cobb’s return gives Rodgers the slot weapon he clearly feels he hasn’t had since Cobb’s initial departure. The wide receiver had three seasons with at least 100 catches for Green Bay, including a 2014 campaign that saw him catch 12 touchdowns. Rodgers had made clear to the Packers that Cobb was a player he wanted back. It’s just one of several concessions made by the team in order to get the star quarterback into the fold for 2021.

Aaron Rodgers reportedly wants Randall Cobb back with Packers

Aaron Rodgers

One of Aaron Rodgers’ requests of the Green Bay Packers apparently is that the team bring back one of his favorite wide receivers.

According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Rodgers has asked the Packers to reacquire wide receiver Randall Cobb, who played with Rodgers between 2011 and 2018 and is currently with the Houston Texans. Salary cap issues could complicate things, but Silverstein says the acquisition “could happen.”

Cobb seems like an odd player for Rodgers’ return to hinge on. However, we do know that the Packers quarterback has some strong opinions about the wide receivers he throws to. One of Rodgers’ former teammates has suggested that Rodgers isn’t happy with how the team has let veteran contributors leave during the quarterback’s tenure, and Cobb would fall into that category.

The 30-year-old Cobb’s best season came with the Packers in 2014, when he caught 12 touchdowns and racked up 1,287 receiving yards. He played in only ten games for Houston in 2020, catching 38 passes for 441 yards and three touchdowns.

Aaron Rodgers reports to Packers training camp

Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers appears to have officially ended his offseason holdout.

Rodgers was spotted outside Lambeau Field on Tuesday morning at the start of Green Bay Packers training camp. PFF’s Mike Renner shared a photo of Rodgers at the facility.

Renner says his mother was present at the start of training camp and asked Packers president Mark Murphy when Rodgers is going to shown up. Murphy replied that the star quarterback is “here already.”

Numerous reports on Monday stated that Rodgers and the Packers have reached an agreement where the reigning MVP will play for the team this season and then have the freedom to leave next year. The Packers have restructured Rodgers’ contract in a way that assures they will not force him to stay in Green Bay beyond the 2021 season. They are also reportedly going to let him have a say in where he plays next if he chooses to leave.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk predicted earlier this month that Rodgers would end his holdout after the Packers’ Annual Meeting of Shareholder, which was held on Monday. The belief was that Rodgers wanted Green Bay’s brass to have to answer uncomfortable questions and squirm a bit. Now that Rodgers has reported to camp, it looks like Florio nailed it.

Packers will reportedly let Aaron Rodgers choose his next team

Aaron Rodgers

The Packers are close to an agreement with Aaron Rodgers that would give the quarterback assurances he can leave Green Bay after the 2021 season. Rodgers is unlikely to become a free agent at that point, but it sounds like he will still have a say in where he plays next.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Packers have made a number of “concessions” to convince Rodgers to return to the team this season. The most noteworthy is that they will allow him to choose his next team if he decides to leave in 2022.

Rodgers has three years remaining on his current contract, but the Packers have reportedly restructured the deal in a way that assures him he will not have to stay in Green Bay beyond 2021. The 2023 season will be voided, and the team cannot use the franchise tag on Rodgers. The reason they’re keeping Rodgers under contract for 2022 is so they can trade him and get something in return for him rather than simply letting him walk.

So, if a situation arises next offseason where several teams want to trade for Rodgers, it sounds like the Packers will work with the reigning MVP to send him where he wants to go. We know of at least one team that had significant interest, though that may have changed in recent months.

Report: Packers agree to let Aaron Rodgers leave after 2021 season

Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers have reportedly made significant progress toward settling their differences, but the reigning MVP is likely entering his final season with the team.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Rodgers and the Packers are close to an agreement that would bring Rodgers back to the team for one more season. The deal, which Schefter describes as “close,” does not include more money. However, the Packers are tweaking Rodgers’ contract in a way that would assure he can leave Green Bay next year.

Rodgers has three more years remaining on his current deal, but the Packers have agreed to void the final year in 2023. They also have assured him they will not place the franchise tag on him and will “review” his situation after the 2021 season.

By keeping Rodgers under contract through 2022, the Packers will still be able to trade him next offseason if his feelings toward the franchise don’t change.

This has seemed like the most likely outcome for a while. Rodgers obviously wants to play elsewhere, and the Packers traded up in the first round to draft Jordan Love last year. With assurances that Rodgers will be able to leave next offseason, the two sides can chase one more Super Bowl together before parting ways.

The structure of the agreement is very similar to what the New England Patriots did with Tom Brady the year before he left and signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. One NFL executive recently said Rodgers wants to take the same approach as Brady, so that makes sense.

We knew things were headed in this direction when Rodgers and Davante Adams, who is in the final year of his contract with the Packers, shared the same photo on social media over the weekend. Unless something drastic changes over the course of the next several months, a new era will begin in Green Bay next season.

Report: Aaron Rodgers plans to play for Packers in 2021

Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers has not given any indication of when he might report to work with the Green Bay Packers, but there have been signs that his holdout may come to an end sooner rather than later.

The latest comes from Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, who reported on Monday that Rodgers has told people close to him that he plans to play for the Packers this season.

The report came during the Packers’ Annual Meeting of Shareholders. During that event, general manager Brian Gutekunst and team president Mark Murphy said they have been working hard to resolve the issues with Rodgers and are optimistic there will be a positive resolution.

What’s really interesting is that Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk recently predicted that Rodgers would wait until after the July 26 meeting to report to the Packers. The reason? Florio believes Rodgers would want Murphy and Gutekunst to have to go through an uncomfortable situation and answer questions about the reigning MVP’s holdout. That prediction could turn out to be accurate.

Rodgers passed for 4,299 yards and 48 touchdowns last season. While the Packers believe they have their quarterback of the future in Jordan Love, you can understand why they aren’t anxious to trade Rodgers.

The best solution for Rodgers and the Packers could be to make one more run at a Super Bowl together this season before parting ways next year. It’s possible Rodgers has accepted that, which would help explain his recent social media activity.

Packers GM provides update on Aaron Rodgers situation

Aaron Rodgers

The Green Bay Packers held their Annual Meeting of Shareholders on Monday, and naturally the biggest topic on everyone’s mind was whether Aaron Rodgers will play for the team in 2021. General manager Brian Gutekunst says he remains optimistic that a solution can be reached.

Gutekunst drew his biggest cheer of the day from the crowd when he said he is looking forward to Rodgers “continuing his Hall of Fame career” in Green Bay and winning another MVP award with the Packers. He then assured shareholders the team’s brass has been “working tirelessly” to resolve the issues with Rodgers.

“We have been working tirelessly with Aaron and his representatives to resolve the issues he raised this offseason and we remain hopeful for a positive resolution,” Gutekunst said, per Matt Schneidman of The Athletic.

Packers president Mark Murphy echoed Gutekunst’s comments. He also admitted that this has been a challenging offseason.

“We want Aaron back. We’re committed to (Rodgers) for 2021 and beyond,” Murphy said, via NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. “He’s our leader and we look forward to winning another Super Bowl with him.”

Gutekunst and Murphy basically told the shareholders what they wanted to hear. Whether or not they can deliver remains to be seen.

Rodgers is unlikely to be traded at this point in the offseason. The best outcome for both sides may be to agree to make one more run at a Super Bowl before parting ways next offseason. Though, a report this week claimed there is one way the Packers could satisfy Rodgers financially.

Even if the Packers were willing to part with Rodgers this summer, they may get less interest in the 37-year-old than expected. One team that has been repeatedly linked to Rodgers is said to be wary about acquiring him now.