GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers plans to return to the Green Bay Packers for an 18th season, a move that takes the reigning MVP away from the trade market and answers the question that had dominated NFL offseason talk.
NFL Network and Pat McAfee, host of “The Pat McAfee Show” on SiriusXM and YouTube, both reported that Rodgers will return to the Packers next season. Rodgers makes a weekly appearance on McAfee’s show during the season.
NFL Network reported that the 38-year-old Rodgers agreed to a four-year, $200 million deal that includes $153 million in guaranteed money. McAfee disputed those numbers and said “the deal hasn’t been done,” but added that Rodgers had agreed to return to the Packers.
Rodgers’ decision comes nearly a month after winning his second consecutive MVP award. The four-time MVP quarterback has spent his entire career in Green Bay.
He said he wanted to make an announcement about his future before the start of the free agency period which begins next week. Reports of his decision surfaced the same day the Packers face a deadline on whether or not to give All-Pro receiver Davante Adams a franchise tag.
Rodgers wanted to avoid a repeat of 2021, when his status was uncertain until the start of training camp after skipping the Packers’ mandatory minicamp.
Questions about his future stemmed from Rodgers’ disagreements with team management at the time. Rodgers has said several times over the past few months that his relationship with team officials has improved significantly.
Rodgers’ plans had been the subject of much speculation since the Packers traded four spots to take Utah State quarterback Jordan Love with the 26th overall pick in the 2020 draft. After calling his future a “beautiful mystery” at the end of the 2020 season, Rodgers skipped organized team activities and the Packers’ mandatory minicamp in a standoff with team management.
Rodgers showed up in time for training camp, but admitted his future with the organization was uncertain. At the time, he said he wanted to have a say in the team’s decision-making process.
Rodgers has recently frequently complimented the steps general manager Brian Gutekunst has taken to improve the team. These moves included the acquisition of wide receiver Randall Cobb at the request of Rodgers. Rodgers said he felt there was better communication this season and “I feel like my opinion matters”.
“I think he put together a really great team, a team that could have won a Super Bowl, and he deserves a lot of credit for some of the moves he made,” Rodgers said after a playoff loss. playoffs against San Francisco in January. “I’m disappointed we couldn’t put it together for him and the organization tonight, and I’m disappointed it’s over.”
Gutekunst agreed their relationship was in the right place.
“I feel really good where we’re sitting right now,” Gutekunst said before the NFL scouting reaper.
Rodgers has had a tumultuous 2021 season on many counts, especially for comments he made about his vaccine status. When asked before the season if he had been vaccinated against COVID-19, Rodgers replied: “Yes, I am immune.” But after testing positive during the season, Rodgers admitted he was unvaccinated and said he had sought alternative treatments instead.
Rodgers also struggled with a broken left toe for much of the year, but continued to play at the All-Pro level. He threw 20 touchdown passes without interceptions in his last seven regular season games. He led the Packers to a 13-4 record and a third consecutive NFC North Championship.
But his season ended with a disappointing playoff performance. The Packers scored a touchdown on the game’s first series, but never reached the end zone again in the home loss to the 49ers.
Packers coach Matt LaFleur, Gutekunst and chairman/CEO Mark Murphy said after the season they all want Rodgers back in 2022.
“I think we have as much of a chance as anyone to win a Super Bowl next year (with Rodgers),” Gutekunst said. “He’s the league’s MVP. This is our goal. I think we have an opportunity to do that now.
LaFleur made a move seemingly intended to keep Rodgers when he brought back Tom Clements as quarterbacks coach. Rodgers had praised Clements, 68, who previously worked for the Packers from 2006-2016 in roles that included quarterbacks coach (2006-11), offensive coordinator (2012-14) and associate/offense head coach (2015-16). ). Rodgers has praised Clements several times over the past year.
Rodgers’ return would answer a giant question for the Packers as they head into a critical offseason. They are well over the salary cap and have several key players whose contracts are expiring, including Adams.
Gutekunst said he thinks the Packers could keep Rodgers and Adams while building a contending team around them.
“I obviously think everything here is sort of quarterback-centric,” Gutekunst said before the combine. “It’s a big chunk and a domino that has to fall before we take the other avenues. So that’s important as we go through that and the pieces of the puzzle that we have to try to fit. That’s the first to leave.
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