From Rob Goldberg of B\R
Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are reportedly close to an agreement that could see the veteran quarterback play his final season with the franchise.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reported the Packers “are offering concession” to ensure Rodgers’ return for the 2021 season but added it “would help set up” the quarterback’s “departure from Green Bay after this season.”
Earlier Monday, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Rodgers had “indicated to people close to him” that he planned to return to the Packers and play this season.
These reports came after Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst expressed optimism about a reunion.
“We have been working tirelessly with Aaron and his representatives to resolve the issues [Rodgers has raised], and we are hopeful for a positive resolution,” Gutekunst said Monday, per Rob Demovsky of ESPN.
Once the possibility of Rodgers’ return was reported, the Packers moved up among the favorites to win the Super Bowl, presuming Rodgers will be under center:
Schefter reported in April that Rodgers did not want to return to the team. He skipped Green Bay’s organized team activities and mandatory minicamp earlier this offseason.
Rodgers also turned down a two-year contract extension that would have made him the highest-paid player in the NFL, according to Schefter.
“It’s just kind of about a philosophy and maybe forgetting that it is about the people that make the thing go,” Rodgers said of his issues with the team on SportsCenter in May. “It’s about character, it’s about culture, it’s about doing things the right way.”
The 37-year-old is under contract through the 2023 season, but the Packers have more financial flexibility after this year. According to Spotrac, the team can save $22.6 million against the cap if he is traded or released next offseason.
Green Bay selected Rodgers’ apparent replacement in Jordan Love after trading into the first round in 2020, but the team has remained firm that it doesn’t plan on trading the reigning MVP.
“We want him back, we’re committed to him for 2021 and beyond,” team president Mark Murphy said. “He’s our leader, and we’re looking forward to winning another Super Bowl.”
Last year’s NFL MVP award was the third of Rodgers’ career, and the 17th-year veteran led the Packers to the NFC Championship Game for the second straight season. If Rodgers does return under center, Green Bay should enter 2021 as one of the top contenders for a championship.