The top three questions for Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers ahead of the 2018 season.
The 2017 season ended almost as soon as it started for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers broke his collarbone in Week 6 against the Minnesota Vikings.
Before the injury, the Packers were 4-1 coming off a win against the Dallas Cowboys, while averaging 27.4 points per game. Rodgers looked like an MVP candidate after throwing for 1,367 yards, 13 touchdowns and three interceptions.
After the injury, the Packers didn’t look very good. They lost five out of the next eight games including the Week 6 game. The offense only averaged 18.5 points per game in that stretch.
What questions remain for Rodgers heading into 2018 season?
1. When will he sign his contract extension?
Rodgers is due for a contract extension this offseason. The main reason is the Packers need to lock him up before the price gets out of control.
Currently, Rodgers is making $22 million a year, which ranks him 10th among quarterbacks, according to Over The Cap. Quarterbacks like Kirk Cousins, Matthew Stafford, and Jimmy Garoppolo are ranked higher without having any playoff victories, let alone MVP awards and Super Bowls.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that the contract extension will be done by July. But Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reported that Rodgers is looking for an opt-out clause — one where he can renegotiate anytime another quarterback is paid higher than him.
The new contract will set a new precedence, but not one to have a full-out clause. Also, it will be tied to a certain percentage of the salary cap.
Tying the guarantees to a certain percentage will make sure that Rodgers gets a raise anytime the cap rises. In essence, it will accomplish what the reports are saying about the new deal.
2. Will the injury change the way he plays?
A lot of Rodgers’ mystique is what he does inside and outside of the pocket. When he doesn’t like what he sees, he can pull the ball down and run.
After he broke his other collarbone in 2013, things didn’t change. In the four seasons after, he has run for a combined 1,108 yards and seven touchdowns.
Even when he returned from injury last year, his style of play didn’t change. He still scrambled and moved within the pocket. A couple of times he landed on the injured shoulder only to pop right back up. The only difference was the rust and the arm strength against the Carolina Panthers.
The expectation is he will return to form, hoping to bring home another MVP trophy.
3. Can the Packers keep him healthy?
Since taking over the starting job in 2008, Rodgers has missed a total of 17 games due to injury. This doesn’t mean he’s been healthy his whole career.
Rodgers missed one game due to a concussion back in 2010 season. The other 16 games were due to breaking his collarbones.
Let’s not forget the couple of seasons where he dealt with calf strains as well.
Throughout his career, Rodgers has been sacked 363 times, which makes him tied with Ron Jaworski as the 21st most sacked quarterback in NFL history.
There are other question marks as to who will man the right side of the ball. Offensive lineman Justin McCray showed flashes last year. The Packers also have Jason Spriggs returning from injury, who could be the right tackle.
General manager Brian Gutekunst also used one of his draft picks on lineman Cole Madison. Madison will likely compete to play right guard after the departure of Jahri Evans.
The Packers have gone through an offseason of change. Between personnel, front office, and coaching changes, the team looks and feels a lot different.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers will bring back some feeling of stability. We will find out how much the stability will last soon enough.