Forget the noise about Aaron Rodgers staying away, the reigning NFL MVP quarterback has been spotted in Green Bay.
Ryan Wing, sports director at Fox 11 in Green Bay, reported Saturday morning he has spoken with numerous people who claim to have seen Rodgers in Green Bay in the past 24 hours with one of those sightings coming near Lambeau Field. He also reminded that locker clean-out day traditionally occurs immediately after the season ends and that Rodgers — who lives in California — “rarely comes back to the area during the offseason.
For context: locker clean out happens the day after the season. Plus, Rodgers rarely comes back to GB in the offseason https://t.co/3DYBgkDvmt
— Ryan Wing (@RyanWingFOX11) May 8, 2021
Rodgers could have a number of reasons for hanging around in Green Bay if the sightings are accurate, but one of the most consequential possibilities would be for him to sit down with Packers brass to discuss his long-term future with the team. Given the Packers had previously gone to him for their offseason discussions, it would certainly appear encouraging for their relationship if Rodgers has now decided to meet with them on their own turf.
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Packers Have Acknowledge ‘Issue’ With Rodgers
It has been more than a week since ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Rodgers’ unhappiness with the organization, a fact that Packers team president Mark Murphy described as “an issue that we have been working on for several months” in his May 1 monthly column. Murphy also confirmed that he, general manager Brian Gutekunst and head coach Matt LaFleur have flown out “on a number of occasions to meet with Aaron” this offseason.
“We are very much aware of Aaron’s concerns and have been working with him (and his agent Dave Dunn) to resolve them,” Murphy wrote. “We remain committed to Aaron in 2021 and beyond.”
On the surface, what more should the Packers have to say? Rodgers is under contract for another three seasons and is just won his third career league MVP. The reality, though, is their decision to trade up and draft quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft convinced Rodgers that his plan to finish his career with the Packers “may not be a reality” anymore.
Rodgers is now out of guaranteed money on his contract, which means the Packers will begin to have workable financial options to move on from him starting next offseason. His dead-cap number will drop from $38.356 million in 2021 to $17.204 million in 2022, falling even steeper to $2.852 million in 2023 — which would be the final year (option excluded) of Love’s rookie deal.
With the Love selection still hanging over him, it is understandable why Rodgers would want additional commitment from the Packers moving forward, especially after a season that will go down as one of his very best. Can a contract extension alone solve the problem, though?