The agreement between Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, as detailed by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, could accomplish a lot of things, but it certainly provides both sides with a valuable commodity: time.
If nothing else, Rodgers will be back in Green Bay for the 2021 season. According to Schefter, the Packers are putting “mechanisms” in place to address some of Rodgers’ issues with the team, and the two sides will agree to review the situation following the season,
The time provided by the agreement is valuable for both sides.
Rodgers will get a year to see how the Packers respond as an organization to the internal changes he so clearly desires. Time, as they say, can be a great healer. What doesn’t sit right with someone now can be fixed over time. Relationships heal. Rodgers is giving the team a chance to fix the issues and heal the wounds. Extending the contract of All-Pro receiver Davante Adams might be a good place to start.
The Packers, on the other hand, get a chance to evaluate the entire situation over one more season. Rodgers might be the reigning NFL MVP, but he turns 38 in December, and the Packers have a first-round pick in Jordan Love waiting in the wings. While Rodgers evaluates the team, the team will be evaluating Rodgers’ career arc and Love’s development.
The Packers especially needed the time. Rodgers is coming off one of his best-ever seasons, while Love’s rookie season was derailed by COVID-19. Ending the relationship now would have been a serious danger on two fronts, with Rodgers still playing at an elite level and Love a complete unknown. Now, the Packers can get a much clearer picture about how they should proceed at the game’s most important position.
An added benefit: Both sides get a chance to cool down after what was likely a stressful and possibly hostile period of discussions over a drama-filled offseason.
How could this all end up?
If the Packers make meaningful change and re-earn Rodgers’ trust, a commitment between player and franchise could be had following the 2021 season via a new deal, possibly one tying Rodgers to the Packers through his eventual retirement.
If the two sides can’t get on the same page in 2021, a clean split is possible early in 2022, with Rodgers getting a say on his new team and the Packers receiving back significant draft capital via trade.
In the meantime, the Packers get back Rodgers for one more year and avoid the nightmarish scenario of trading away the NFL MVP, while Rodgers has put the microscope on the Packers in an effort to orchestrate real change while also gaining some freedom over his future after 2021.
If Rodgers’ contempt for the team was deep and he wanted out now, time is probably working against him. But it appears he was willing to give the team one final chance to make amends, or he was out-leveraged, especially contractually, and made the best of a bad situation.
Without a doubt, the team gets a big win here by buying more time. They’ve successfully kicked the can down the road for another year.
The big question remaining: Will both sides make use of the time they’ve bought here, or will it be wasted?