What does the future look like for the Green Bay Packers? Things in Green Bay have never looked more uncertain than they do now in a very long time
I think it’s more than fair to say that the Green Bay Packers have been pretty blessed for the past 20 to 25 years or so. Landing three hall of fame QB’s in your franchise’s history is something very few teams can say, let alone landing two of them back to back.
Before Brett Favre became a Packer, he was a Falcon. Favre was drafted by the Falcons in 1991 and did very little with the team before he was traded the following offseason to the Packers for a 1st round pick. Of course, this ended up being an absolute steal for the Packers as Favre was a three-time MVP and managed to win a Super Bowl with the Packers as well.
While Favre was an all-time fan favorite in Green Bay, the relationship between Favre and the Packers front office staff soured.
In 2005 there were two QB’s that were highly coveted, one being Alex Smith and the other being Aaron Rodgers. Of course, everybody knows the story of Rodgers sliding down to the 24th pick where the Packers would select him. While Rodgers, of course, turned out to be an outstanding QB, the relationship with Favre and the Packers front office was getting worse.
In 2008, Favre retired from the NFL. Favre would eventually come out of retirement in 2009 but with the Packers set on Aaron Rodgers and the relationship with Favre and the front office staff being very poor, Favre was traded to the Jets.
The Jets would miss the playoffs with Favre before he retired and unretired once again, which eventually landed him on the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings would go on to lose to the New Orleans in the NFC conference championship, partially thanks to a Favre 4th quarter interception.
While Favre was in the twilight of his career, Aaron Rodgers was just getting started. It didn’t take Rodgers long to prove the Packers geniuses for choosing him over Favre, and it didn’t take him long to prove that he was the best QB of the 2005 draft. It only took Rodgers six years in the NFL and three years to win the Super Bowl plus a Super Bowl MVP. He would follow up his Super Bowl season by winning his first MVP award in 2011.
The Packers somehow managed to transition from one Hall of Fame QB to another Hall of Fame QB. While the Packers looked like geniuses drafting Rodgers, history somewhat ended up repeating itself. Green Bay has drafted a couple of QB’s, namely Brian Brohm and Brett Hundley, but 2020 was different.
The 2020 NFL draft was loaded with receiver talent like Justin Jefferson, Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, Brandon Aiyuk, Tee Higgins, Michael Pittman Jr, Chase Claypool, and Van Jefferson, all of which were taken in the first two rounds.
Being that this draft was loaded with receiver talent and that the Packers needed receiver help, it’s fair to say that most people were expecting the Packers to take a receiver. Instead of taking a receiver in the first round, the Packers drafted QB Jordan Love. Not only did they draft Love, but they traded up for him as well. Of course, when the Packers did this, the NFL world erupted.
While the NFL world reacted to this, behind the scenes, things are already strenuous between the Packers front office staff and Rodgers. Rodgers was upset with the front office and how they didn’t keep him in the loop when it came to roster moves, especially in the case of Randall Cobb, who Green Bay let go after the 2018 season, who also happened to be one of Rodgers best friends.
The Love move supposedly made the relationship even more strenuous because Rodgers was watching draft tape of receivers, and was fully expecting the Packers to take a receiver, meanwhile, Green Bay drafted Love and didn’t notify Rodgers about it.
All of this came to a head on the day of the 2021 NFL Draft. Adam Schefter reported on ESPN how bad the relationship between Rodgers and the Packers was, and also talked about how the San Francisco 49ers inquired about possibly trading for Aaron Rodgers during the offseason.
The offseason continued to be a very tension-filled time for the Packers and their fans.
Eventually, the season would start, and Aaron Rodgers would remain the QB of the Green Bay Packers. Of course, everybody knows that the Packers dominated the regular season, only to lose to the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round of the playoffs. Being that the Packers were the number one seed in the NFC and were favorites to go to the Super Bowl out of the NFC, this was devastating.
This brings us all up to the present day, where Rodgers just won his 4th NFL MVP award while nobody knows what the QB wants to do just quite yet.
Where do the Green Bay Packers go from here?
Green Bay is in a very interesting situation this offseason, and not just because of the whole Rodgers situation. For starters, they lost a bunch of their coaching staff, most notably their former offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who is now the head coach in Denver, and their former QB coach and Passing game Coordinator, Luke Getsy, who is now in Chicago.
Of course, Green Bay has made coaching moves here and there with the promotion of Adam Stenavich to offensive coordinator and the signing of former Raiders interim head coach Rich Bisaccia to special teams coordinator but losing Hackett and Getsy will still be a big blow to the Packers.
Likely the biggest thing, outside of Rodgers, that will play the biggest role in how Green Bay navigates this offseason is their salary cap situation. According to Over The Cap, the Packers are currently 50 million over the cap, and if that sounds bad, well, it’s because it is. In order to be in good standing in terms of the cap, the Packers will more likely than not have to do some reworking of contracts and will have to let some players go.
The two main roads the Packers can go down are attempting to keep Rodgers and work on restructuring contracts and letting go of players around him to be in good standing of the salary cap, or trading Rodgers for a king’s ransom and attempting to somewhat rebuild.
As I’m writing this article, reports came out that the Packers were willing to go full in for Rodgers and Davante Adams, in a situation similar to what the Saints did with Drew Brees before he retired. I’m no salary cap expert, but the Packers can certainly do this by restructuring Rodgers’s contract and adding on some void years to the end of his contract, and by franchise tagging Adams, they also more than likely will not be able to bring in any free agents whatsoever, not to mention the fact that Green Bay will be in an even worse salary cap situation than they are now.
While I’m sure the Packers would love to keep Rodgers and Adams around, there is certainly a reasonable chance that Rodgers may want out of Green Bay altogether. In terms of trade partners for Rodgers, the team will have to be contenders for a championship, but must also be able to offer the Packers enough for them to trade him to them. The two main teams that fit the bill in a Rodgers trade are the Broncos and the Steelers.
Denver and Pittsburgh are very similar in their current roster construction. Both teams have plenty of young quality offensive weapons with plenty of draft picks to throw around, while also having quality defenses (Pittsburgh more so than Denver in my opinion). It also helps that both teams desperately need a quarterback, especially one with the talent that Aaron Rodgers possesses.
If the Packers do end up trading Rodgers to either the Broncos or the Steelers, I would imagine the Packers would probably receive at least three first-round draft picks and maybe an extra player.
While the Packers would likely get a king’s ransom for Rodgers if he was traded, they would then face a problem in the fact that they wouldn’t have a quality QB for the first time in 20+ years.
Jordan Love was supposed to be the future of the Packers at the QB position whenever Rodgers departed, but after his performance against the Chiefs and his partial game against the Lions, Green Bay can’t be too excited or optimistic about Love and his ability to lead this team in the future.
Of course, the Packers could also target a player in the draft. The problem with drafting a QB is that this QB class isn’t very strong. The top QB’s in the class currently are likely Kenny Pickett, Malik Willis, and Matt Corrall, the problem is all these QB’s have some concerns surrounding them, and even if the Packers wanted to get one of them, they likely will not be able to because have such a late-round pick, unless they get a high pick in an Aaron Rodgers trade of course.
Ultimately, whatever happens with the Packers, things are not going to be easy one way or another. If Rodgers stays in Green Bay, the salary cap situation is going to get worse, making the present Packers still competitive, but putting the future Packers in a very tough spot.
If Rodgers wants out of Green Bay and ends up getting traded, the current Packers will likely find themselves in a tough spot with Jordan Love and still having to let players go, but they will make things a lot better on themselves sooner rather than later.