After the Green Bay playoff run ended with a one-and-out home loss to the 49ers, quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he’d make a decision before free agency. Twenty-six days ago, Rodgers said plans to “enjoy the next couple weeks and, you know, I’ve had good conversations with Green Bay and I’ll, you know, do some contemplating and then make a decision here pretty quick.”
“Pretty quick” should have been here by now. Officially, free agency starts in only 10 days. Unofficially, it starts in eight days. Even more unofficially, it’s already happening with the usual conversations that constitute tampering, but that the league office routinely ignores.
Rodgers reportedly is “torn” over his decision. Many are pushing the team’s narrative that no trade talks have occurred regarding Rodgers, which is semantics at best or steaming bullcrap at worst. The decision, at this point, can’t be Green Bay or Not Green Bay. The decision is the Packers or the Broncos, the Packers or the Steelers, the Packers or the Titans.
We’ve urged the application of common sense by those who seem to be far more focused on pushing the team’s official narrative, presumably hopeful to get the coveted news (five minutes before it’s announced) as to where Rodgers is going. The closer we get to March 16, the less likely it is that Rodgers will be going to the Packers and saying, “I want out. Now what?”
“Now what?” as we reported on Friday night, already has been lined up. If the Packers truly haven’t spoken to any other team about a trade, the whole truth would be that they’ve given Rodgers’s representatives a list of acceptable teams and a list of acceptable terms. This allows the Packers to officially cling to the perception that they’ve one nothing to facilitate the exit of one of the greatest quarterbacks in league history, that they wanted to keep him but he wanted to go.
Think about this one. Absent advance coordination, things could get awkward and ugly if Rodgers decides this week that he wants to leave and then asks to be traded to a team to which the Packers won’t trade him. What happens if Rodgers says, “I want out, and I want to play for the 49ers” and the Packers say, “No way in hell”?
Rodgers isn’t deciding whether he’d like to see a menu; he’s got the thing open and he’s picking his meal. That reality makes the news that his people recently negotiated a short-term deal with the Packers even more sensible. Rodgers, we believe, currently knows the teams to which the Packers would trade him, the money he’d receive from each destination, the compensation the Packers would secure. It stands to reason that Rodgers also will know what the Packers will pay, if he stays.
Look for the decision to be leaked (and then announced five minutes later) as “Rodgers is leaving,” with his destination leaked (and announced five minutes later) not long after that. Those pushing the team’s narrative will continue to insist that the deal wasn’t already in place before Rodgers made his decision on whether to stay or go. Those who get it will know otherwise.