It has been less three weeks since the San Francisco 49ers ended Aaron Rodgers’ season in the NFC playoffs and it appears we are getting closer to finding out if that was the quarterback’s last game with the Green Bay Packers.
Speaking with reporters Thursday night after winning his fourth NFL MVP, the veteran said his plans for the future are still up in the air.
“I have not made any decision yet,” Rodgers said. “I’ll make a decision in due time — not in a ton of time — and give the team plenty of time to do what they got to do. I think that time is coming.
“There will be a decision in the near future and I’m not going to keep a lot of people waiting.”
Rodgers has three options on the table — return to Green Bay on a new contract that would lower is salary cap number, ask for a trade to another team or retire.
“It just comes down to kind of weighing where I’m at mentally and understanding what the commitment is,” Rodgers said when asked what things he’s still thinking about. “And then kind of making a commitment and everybody moving forward.”
Potentially impacting the decision is the loss of several close members of the coaching staff, including offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and quarterbacks coach Luke Getsy. Rodgers called their departures bittersweet. There is also the likelihood of a number of players Rodgers is close with being salary cap casualties, including wide receiver Randall Cobb, kicker Mason Crosby and tackle Billy Turner.
But potentially working in the Packers favor is the renewed relationship between the quarterback and the front office. After an offseason full of drama last summer that brought to the surface Rodgers’ various issues with how things impacting his job were being done, the two sides appear to be in a great place. He thanked team president Mark Murphy, general manager Brian Gutekunst and team vice president Russ Ball during his MVP acceptance speech and later said they had great discussions prior to him leaving Green Bay.
“I was obviously frustrated about some things in the offseason,” Rodgers said. “I just felt like there was so much growth. I’m so thankful for that. I’m thankful for the relationships, really, with (general manager) Brian (Gutekunst) as much as anybody. Because there was obviously some things that were voiced in the offseason privately between him and myself and I’m just thankful for the response. There was a lot of things that were done to make me feel really special and important to the present, the past and the future of the franchise. I’ve got to say that (Team vice president) Russ (Ball) and Brian especially had a big hand in that. It didn’t go unnoticed.”
Retirement seems like the least likely of the options. Rodgers is coming off back-to-back MVP awards and has played some of the best football of his career the last two seasons. He said he doesn’t fear retirement but noted he’s still as competitive as ever.
“I still feel like there’s more I can get out of his body if that’s the way that I end up going,” Rodgers said. “Greatness is the expectation. It’s not a destination.”