As the surprising comments from Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers sink in, his words invite speculation regarding his future.
One potential outcome seems unlikely: Retirement.
Beyond owing the Packers $23 million in unearned bonus money if he walks away, Rodgers in recent years has made it clear he plans to keep going. (In June 2013, however, Rodgers said that he would play seven or eight more years. Thanks to eight of my 10 fingers, the 2020 season counts as the eighth.)
In 2016, Rodgers said he’d like to play his entire career with the Packers, citing the one-team-only careers of Derek Jeter, Kobe Bryant, and Tim Duncan. Of course, that was before the Packers traded up in round one to pick a quarterback. That may have caused Rodgers to believe that, in order to play as long as he’d like to play, he’ll have to eventually play somewhere else.
That said, Rodgers could see an interesting door open for himself as the year unfolded. He’s schedule to serve as a guest host on Jeopardy, a show that is looking for a long-term successor to the late Alex Trebek.
So along with Katie Couric, Bill Whitaker, and Mayim Bialik, Rodgers will get a chance to show what he can do. Given that he’s thrived at everything he’s ever done — and that he’s clearly smart enough to learn the Jeopardy ropes — maybe the powers-that-be will decide that Rodgers should get the gig. If offered the job, would he take it?
It would give him something to think about. It would give the Packers something to think about, too. Rodgers currently averages $33.5 million per year on his latest contract extension, a number that drastically was surpassed by the $45 million per year that Patrick Mahomes now receives. Rodgers, the best quarterback in the 2020 regular season, also makes less than Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson ($35 million per year) and the same amount as Rams quarterback Jared Goff, whose only similarity to Rodgers is that both went to Cal.
Remember when the Eagles benched Donovan McNabb during the 2008 season? He reportedly wanted a “financial apology” for the indignity. Maybe Rodgers would be placated by something along those lines, since it would secure his future for multiple years and relegate Jordan Love to Jimmy Garoppolo status — a backup who is destined to be traded.
Regardless, Rodgers said what he said. In time, he’ll hopefully let the Packers and everyone else know what it all means.