After months of drama befitting of his Packers quarterback predecessor, Aaron Rodgers arrived in Green Bay late Monday, hours before he was due to report at training camp, and by all accounts will play for the Packers in 2021.
While the reported terms that will get Rodgers back on the field in 2021 in Green Bay make it a lot easier for him to leave in 2022, make no mistake: Even if this was a compromise between two sides it was one in which I believe the Packers got exactly what they wanted — something I talked about on Tuesday's Daily Delivery podcast.
My thought all along is that Green Bay wants Rodgers gone, but that the pandemic season put their plan on hold for a year. They didn't get a good look at 2020 first round pick Jordan Love last year, and expecting him to start this season would be a risk. So they wanted to squeeze one more year from their veteran QB before cutting him loose and betting on the future (and a couple years of low-price quarterback play).
Rodgers winning MVP in 2020 and getting the Packers within a few yards of the Super Bowl only added to the incentive.
The hammer Green Bay held was that it didn't have to trade Rodgers this year. The question was to what length either side was willing to go — Rodgers to sit out, Green Bay to keep him while he sat out. Ultimately, it appears the Packers had more leverage there. A 37-year-old QB coming off an MVP season doesn't know how many great years he has left. If he only has one option to play in 2021 — and he truly wants to play — ultimately he has to take it.
And that's what happened. Maybe the sides will be so happy with 2021 that they extend this partnership beyond this season. That seems unlikely to happen — with the reality that this truly is a one-year business-like truce — but if so? Green Bay gets what it wanted all along. Rodgers doesn't, at least not right away. Call it a 90/10 compromise.
The only question left is what collateral damage is done from all the acrimony. Is it quickly forgotten as Rodgers zings spirals all over, or does it fester during the season?
If you're a Vikings fan who was hoping this was going to continue to stay messy and that 2021 would be a Rodgers-free year, your best hope now is that the offseason drama carries over into a spoiled 2021 season for the Packers.