Packers: Three ways to keep Aaron Rodgers happy moving forward
By David Ruiz
Once the NFC Championship Game concluded, Aaron Rodgers had a very cryptic way of telling the Green Bay Packers he wasn’t sure of his future with the franchise.
Was Rodgers so depressed after finally hosting the title game at Lambeau Field, being the No. 1 seed, and losing in dramatic fashion to Tampa Bay?
Rodgers’ lone Super Bowl ring and appearance will now have taken place over a decade ago. With an aging quarterback, while still playing at an MVP-like performance, the Packers are fully aware of where the window currently sits in terms of contending for a Super Bowl championship.
However, we would later find out that Rodgers is fully committed to returning to Green Bay in 2021 — and hopefully for the remainder of his career.
Head coach Matt LaFleur, general manager Brian Gutekunst, and team president Mark Murphy have all acknowledged in wanting their star quarterback under center for the foreseeable future.
But one thing was clear from Rodgers’ season-ending press conference: the Packers need to keep Rodgers happy in the waning years of his career.
Re-signing top free agents
The main takeaway from Rodgers’ heart-chilling words on Sunday was when he brought up the idea of uncertainty. First, Rodgers sent the world into a frenzy when he mentioned the uncertainty of his own future — which then propelled everyone to discuss if that was his final snap as a Packer or not.
Secondly, Rodgers mentioned that the team could look vastly different next season due to a number of high-profile free agents that means a lot to both him and the team’s success.
Aaron Jones, Marcedes Lewis, Kevin King, Corey Linsley, and Lane Taylor are set to become unrestricted free agents once the season officially concludes in the coming weeks.
While it’s a possibility the Packers could be looking to move on from King and Taylor, Rodgers has spoken highly of his running back, tight end, and lineman citing them as pivotal pieces moving forward.
While every franchise may have an option to replace players upon their departure, to see Rodgers really feel for his teammates after an excruciating loss speaks volumes.
Will Rodgers and Co. be fine should any top free agent walk? Absolutely. But sending a message to ownership saying “give me the guys I want to win with right now” should be taken into huge consideration once negotiations begin.
A successful 2021 NFL Draft
We all know the scrutiny that Green Bay came under from trading up and selecting quarterback Jordan Love after many other positions had a higher priority. It was a decision that was questioned all of 2020 and looks to be a black-eye on the franchise for years to come.
Now, let’s remember that Love did absolutely nothing wrong. If the goal was to motivate Rodgers to have the explosive season he had, then sure, mission accomplished.
But Love isn’t going to see any meaningful action behind Tim Boyle and assuming No. 12 stays healthy the rest of the way.
A lot of focus will be on Green Bay’s draft selections in 2021 knowing that a first-round pick should not be used for a player that won’t contribute immediately.
Does Green Bay have to nail absolutely every draft pick? No. Few teams do. But erasing the bad-mouth taste from a season ago can send the right message to Rodgers telling him this team is built to win now and five years down the road.
Whether that’s a stud playmaker on offense or a ballhawk on defense remains to be seen but a positive message could do wonders with a successful NFL Draft in 2021.
Communication is key for Aaron Rodgers
In the two years since LaFleur has grabbed the reins in Green Bay, Rodgers and LaFleur have appeared to be a match made in heaven. Gone were the days of visible frustration between Rodgers and Mike McCarthy and enter the days of fist-pumping in unison.
Make no mistake about it, LaFleur loves Rodgers and Rodgers loves LaFleur.
But, perhaps, at the worst time, the two were not on the same page in the season’s most crucial moment.
Rodgers was thinking one thing on that fateful third-and-goal against Tampa Bay and LaFleur was thinking of another. Whether that one moment cost them a Super Bowl appearance is anyone’s guess.
Rodgers was very vocal that the decision to settle for a field goal was not his, thus implying LaFleur wouldn’t budge on the call. Whether the two butted heads or not, the season came to an end.
As prolific of a quarterback-head coach duo they are, this type of communication has to be key moving forward. Both Rodgers and LaFleur have taken measures to place the blame for high-profile losses on themselves, but eventually, as the pair continues to grow, their minds will fuse to where they are on the same page.