For the fourth time in five conference championship tries, Aaron Rodgers came up short with his top-seeded Packers falling to the Tom Brady-led Buccaneers Sunday in Green Bay. No doubt perturbed by coach Matt LaFleur’s puzzling decision to kick a field goal while trailing late and perhaps frustrated by his own missed opportunities, Rodgers cast doubt on his future in a dreary post-game press conference, leading some to wonder if the future Hall-of-Famer had played his final down as a Green Bay Packer.
Rodgers demanding a trade out of Green Bay would instantly become the most compelling storyline of the upcoming NFL offseason, though the 37-year-old’s former Packers teammate, Brett Favre, is skeptical of that happening.
“I wouldn’t pay much attention to it,” said Favre, dismissing Rodgers’ comments as someone venting in the heat of the moment. “I think frustration, disappointment, hurt and pain were all in that soundbite.”
The fact that Rodgers, arguably the most-talented quarterback to ever play the position (though Chiefs prodigy Patrick Mahomes may be creeping up on him in that regard), has just one Super Bowl ring to his NFL credit is a clear indictment of the Packers, who have squandered the veteran’s prime time and again by surrounding him with inept coaches and an unremarkable supporting cast. Green Bay spending a first-round pick on Jordan Love in last year’s draft also couldn’t have sat well with Rodgers, who showed this year he has plenty left in his NFL tank.
In the age of player empowerment, it’s not unthinkable that Rodgers would seek a trade, perhaps to his hometown 49ers or the Bill Belichick-coached Patriots, who are poised to move on from one-and-done starter Cam Newton this offseason. It’s great content and a fun debate to have over a Miller Lite, though the pipe dream of Rodgers leaving Green Bay, his home of the past 16 years, is still a long shot, at least in Favre’s estimation.
“There’s no way the Packers would do anything to jeopardize losing Aaron,” Favre insisted during his appearance Monday on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “I’ve been there. It hurts. It’s painful. The last thing you want to do is think about next year because you just had a major disappointment, and that’s what you’re hearing in that soundbite.” Favre went on to say the Packers would be “foolish” not to let Rodgers finish his career in Green Bay.
Perhaps Rodgers, who has three years remaining on his current contract, is posturing for a well-deserved raise, though LaFleur and the Packers’ coaching staff certainly have some explaining to do after taking the ball out of their star player’s hands in the final minutes of Sunday’s heartbreaker.