Another NFL offseason, another opportunity for fans and pundits alike to speculate about Aaron Rodgers’ future. That speculation was kicked into overdrive over the weekend when Adam Schefter reported that word around the league is that the Packers want “to move on” from Rodgers and his hefty contract.
Folks started dreaming up trade scenarios for the future Hall of Fame QB, and the Jets quickly became an obvious choice. The Zach Wilson experience did not work out in New York, but the Jets otherwise appear to have a playoff-caliber roster. Then, the team hired Nathaniel Hackett, Rodgers’ offensive coordinator from 2019-2021, to be their next OC.
On Tuesday, Rodgers praised his former coach on “The Pat McAfee Show” and fanned the trade rumor flames to new heights.
“Love Hack, “ Rodgers said. “Hack is my guy. Love him and Megan and the kids. They’re really special to me. We really bonded when he was in Green Bay. He made it fun. He made the room fun. He made the weeks fun.”
Broncos fans might have a hard time associating Hackett with fun, since his first crack at being a head coach was an unmitigated disaster in Denver. He led the team to a 4-11 record in 2022 and was fired before the season ended. But Rodgers likely has much better memories. With Hackett as OC, Rodgers averaged 4138.7 yards per season, with 35 touchdowns and only five interceptions per year. More importantly, the Packers went 39-9 in the regular season and Rodgers won two MVP awards.
It’s hard to say whether or not Hackett’s hire will have a real effect on Rodgers’ future though. For instance, the Broncos decision to hire Hackett was widely seen as part of a plan to lure Rodgers to Denver in 2022. Obviously that didn’t come to fruition and the Broncos ended up with Russell Wilson. Further, Rodgers reiterated in his recent interview that he’s not sure if he’ll return to football in 2023, or retire.
The Rodgers drama could drag well into the summer. According to Schefter, an option bonus in Rodgers' contract is structured so that it may be exercised any time between March 15 (the first day of the new league year) and the day before the Packers regular season opener in September. That gives the Packers plenty of time to find a trade partner, and gives Rodgers plenty of time to determine whether or not he wants to play.