The 2022 NFL season ended in a bitter defeat, and Packers fans are in for another offseason wondering if their franchise quarterback will return to the team next season.
Green Bay failed to reach the playoffs after losing a win-and-in Week 18 game against the Detroit Lions. The Packers finished 8-9 in what was an inconsistent year for the team.
Rodgers battled a thumb injury throughout the second half of the season, and so he’ll be enjoying some time off, but his 2022 still was disappointing considering he was coming off back-to-back MVP seasons. But the All-Pro quarterback has not wavered in his confidence if he were to play in his age-40 season.
“I came back and really wanted to finish my career in Green Bay,” Rodgers said. “In 2019, we were feeling each other out on offense, and our defense played pretty damn good. And a lot of people said I was washed, couldn’t really play anymore, wasn’t the same. And then I won two MVPs in a row without doing anything different. I’m sure there’s a lot of the same sentiment this year. I have a lot of comments about a lot of that that I’d like to keep to myself or I’ll share off-air because I have respect for the whole process — some things don’t need to be said, more understood implicitly.
“Do I still think I can play? Of course. Can I play at a high level? Yeah, the highest. I think I can win MVP again in that right situation. Right situation, is that Green Bay, or is that somewhere else? I’m not sure, but I don’t think you should shut down any opportunity. Like I said, during the season, there’s got to be both sides actually wanting to work together moving forward, and I think there’s more conversation to be had. I think no player wants to be part of any type of rebuild. I said that years ago. Reloads are a lot of fun because you feel like, at most, you’re a couple of guys away.”
Speaking more on the personal aspect of the game, Rodgers continued: “This game’s about relationships. It’s about the guys you can count on, even if they don’t maybe show up huge in the stat book. A guy like Marcedes Lewis, he’s a huge cog in the wheel of the locker room and the momentum of the team. That’s a guy I want to finish my career with. If I’m playing, I want that guy next to me.
“I want the Randall Cobb’s of the world, if he wants to keep playing, in my locker room, guys you can win with. Allen Lazard, (Robert) Tonyan, David Bakhtiari, there’s a lot of interesting names. We’ll see their desire to re-sign these certain guys that are glue guys in the locker room. It’ll be an interesting conversation to be had. Take all that away, I still need to mentally get to a point where I feel 100% locked in and ready to play a 19th season, and if I do, we’ll rock and roll and figure that out, and if I don’t, we’ll go into the jungles for a while.”
This could have Packers fans worried, and the names Rodgers listed will have a larger magnifying glass on them as people try to figure out what the 39-year-old plans to do next.
“If there’s a rebuild going on, I won’t be a part of that,” Rodgers said. “Listen, I don’t think anytime, outside of maybe the (Houston) Texans — there’s a couple of teams who might say, ‘Yeah, we’re rebuilding. We finished down at the bottom of the league, and we’re gonna start over.’ These teams who have new GMs or a new coach, who drafted pretty high, they might admit they’re in some sort of rebuild.
“Most teams in the middle of the pack aren’t going to say, ‘Hey, we’re gonna rebuild, unless we have a crazy cap situation.’ … It’s a mindset. If they want to go younger and think Jordan (Love’s) ready to go, then that might be the way they want to go, and if that’s the case and I still want to play, then there’s only one option: Play somewhere else. … There’s no point in coming back if you don’t think you can win it all.”
Love has sat behind Rodgers for two seasons, and Matt LaFleur and company might want to see what they have in their first-round prospect. But the idea of Rodgers leaving Green Bay would upset any Packers fan, so the team is in a predicament.
The deciding factors ultimately will be on Rodgers and general manager Brian Gutekunst.