By Adam Roberts – 1/26/2021
*UPDATE On The Pat McAfee Show today, Rodgers said “I don’t feel like I said anything that I hadn’t said before.. It was just more of a realization I think that ultimately my future is not necessarily in my control… I don’t think there’s any reason I wouldn’t be back, but there are no absolutes in this business”. He added that conversations will be had during the offseason with Matt LaFleur, Brian Gutekunst, and Murphy, just like after every season.
It didn’t take a ton of time for Packers team president/CEO Mark Murphy to address quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ comments after the end of Sunday’s 31-26 NFC Championship Game loss, the fourth in seven seasons for Green Bay.
Speaking last night with radio station WNFL in Green Bay, Murphy re-affirmed the organization plans for Rodgers to return for his 17th season in Green Bay in 2021. “We’re not idiots” Murphy said. “Aaron Rodgers will be back, he’s our leader.”
This remark came a day after Rodgers lamented that the team was facing an “uncertain” future, himself included. “There’s a lot of unknowns going into this offseason now.” Rodgers said after the loss to Tampa Bay that put him 1-4 in NFC Championship games in his career as a starter. “I’m going to have to take some time away, for sure, and clear my head and just kind of see what’s going on with everything. But it’s pretty tough right now, especially thinking about the guys that may or may not be here next year. There’s always change. That’s the only constant in this business.”
As I said in my game recap yesterday, I do not believe Rodgers will be gone next season; the team is fully aware they drop to a wild card team at best without Rodgers at quarterback, and despite facing a looming challenge handling the salary cap and a bevy of free agents. According to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky:
Rodgers has a salary-cap charge of $36.3 million in 2021 and $39.9 million in 2022. If he and the team were to go their separate ways after the 2021 season, the Packers would save $22.648 million in salary-cap space but would have to count $17.204 million in dead money. If they moved on after this season, they would save only $4.76 million on the cap and have $31.556 million in dead money.
Realistically, the only way Rodgers leaves is if he pulls a Deshaun Watson and forces his hand. It would make for a messy situation that I’m sure all sides would like to avoid, so keep the above numbers in mind when hot-take artists predict where he will play other than with the Packers next year.