There is a non-zero chance that Aaron Rodgers has played his last game for the Green Bay Packers.
Following an offseason full of drama between the two sides and a season that ended in disappointing fashion, with plenty of fireworks in between, the question of whether or not Rodgers will end up playing elsewhere in 2022 has loomed over it all.
After the Packers’ shocking loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs last weekend, Rodgers inferred that he hasn’t made a decision about what happens next, but he intends to soon.
“I did not think we’d be talking about this after this game,” Rodgers said. “But I’m gonna take some time and have conversations with the folks around here, and then take some time away and make a decision obviously before free agency or anything kind of gets going on that front.”
Rodgers finds himself in a rare position, being able to write his own ticket this late into his career. For most quarterbacks, even the great ones, that decision is made for them one way or another. ESPN’s Rob Demovsky spoke with five former NFL quarterbacks, most of whom won or played for Super Bowls, and what advice they’d give about the decision he has to make.
Spoke with 5 former NFL QBs — Matt Hasselbeck, Eli Manning, Dan Orlovsky, Rich Gannon and Kurt Warner — about what Rodgers might be weighing and the benefits of finishing his career in Green Bay or elsewhere.
There are some factors you might not have considered — even grass. https://t.co/oz3lj8NSiu
— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) January 26, 2022
Pretty much every former quarterback interviewed, which includes Matt Hasselbeck, Eli Manning, Dan Orlovsky, Rich Gannon, and Kurt Warner, warned Rodgers against making a hasty decision thinking that the grass will automatically be greener on the other side. And those who didn’t have the option that Rodgers has wished they could have stayed put longer and cemented their legacy in one place.
“It was important for me to finish my career with the Giants, and I would think it would be important for him as well, just because of the legacy that he has, the history of Green Bay, being there as long as he has been, winning a championship and winning MVPs,” said Manning, who spent his entire 16-year career with the New York Giants. “It’s not always greener on the other side. That’s what I had learned from talking to other people. You can go somewhere, and it’s not necessarily going to be better; it’s probably going to be worse.
“If Aaron leaves, it’s probably going to be his own call. It’s going to be his decision, saying, ‘I want out of here.’ That’s what he basically said last year is he wanted to get out. I think it’s strange to want to leave someplace where you’ve been your whole life and to leave for the last two years or whatever it may be of your playing career. Obviously, Tom [Brady] did it and he had success, but you want to make sure it’s the right spot. You can go somewhere and not be any good. I think with Tom, he had the chance to look around. And Peyton [Manning], they had free reign as free agents to decide, ‘This is the spot to go, this is a good team with a good defense and good receivers.'”
Kurt Warner, who went to Super Bowls with the St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals, said that he wishes he could have played for one franchise and made a legacy that way.
“I would’ve rather been in one place for 20 years and left my mark and been able to say I was with one organization the whole time,” said Warner. “I look at it like this: If he does go somewhere, here’s some things that maybe at the end of the day, he can say to himself, ‘This is what I’m looking forward to doing, and this is the opportunity that I have here to put myself in a category with some of these other guys that are known as the greatest to ever play the game.’ That’s how I would look at it big picture-wise if he were to go somewhere else.”
Rodgers is going to do what he wants, of course. And given his propensity for being a “free thinker,” he probably scoffs at the idea of taking advice from others who have been there before him. But it will be interesting to see if he does leave and how that impacts his legacy. He could go the route of Peyton Manning or Tom Brady and win another championship. Or he could the route of his predecessor, Brett Favre, and end up grasping at one last shot.